SNP MEP Calls On CIA Inquiry To Investigate Scottish Allegations

23 January 2006
SNP Europe Spokesman Alyn Smith is backing a European Parliament inquiry into certain alleged CIA activities in Europe, including the controversial practice of 'extraordinary rendition'.

The Parliament will establish the terms of reference for the inquiry or committee and Mr Smith has put his name forward for membership of the group, though membership is subject to negotiation next week.

If allegations of kidnap and torture are proven, this may represent abreach of article 6 of the EU Treaty which guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Speaking from Brussels, Alyn Smith said:

"The Americans are our friends and our colleagues, but we must get to the bottom of these allegations which refuse to go away. With the Scottish government having refused to act and the UK authorities turning a blind eye, I'm glad that the European parliament is takingaction.

"Allegations have been made across Europe, I want to make sure that this inquiry looks into what has been happening in Scotland and thatis one of the reasons I have put my name forward for selection to the Committee. Scotland will not be a staging post for torture.

"I hope that this committee of inquiry will be broad and far reaching enough to get at the truth on this hugely controversial issue. The extraordinary number of CIA flights that have stopped off at Scottish airports is deeply worrying, given the nature of the allegations about how those on board have been treated.

"Crucially, this inquiry will need to examine whether the practice of 'extraordinary rendition' has taken place in EU territory and if so, whether EU law has been breached. If this is the case then we must bewilling to demand sanctions against guilty governments."

Note to editors

  1. The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents will today (Thursday) agree in principle the terms of reference and compositionof a temporary committee to look into allegations that the CIA hadused European countries in connection with the transport and illegaldetention of prisoners, following the decision of principle taken bythe Conference of Presidents on 14 December 2005 on the matter; inthe context of Article 193 of the EU Treaty and under Rule 175 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
  2. In the resolution on this matter, adopted by the Parliament on 15 December 2005, reference is made to a possible mandate. Theresolution requests that the temporary committee examines:* whether the CIA has been involved in 'extraordinary rendition' andtransport of 'ghost detainees' "within the EU territory";* whether such practices are legal according to EU law on fundamentalrights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU-USagreement on extradition;* whether EU citizens were among the detainees;* and whether Member States were involved or complicit in the illegaldeprivation of liberty of individuals.
  3. Approximately 176 of these alleged CIA flights are reported tohave landed at Scottish airports en route to their final destination,including Prestwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leuchars, Inverness and Wickairports.