Rendition Flights

08 December 2005
SNP Europe spokesman Alyn Smith has today echoed comments from Shadow Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill calling for action over CIA rendition flights at Scottish airports.

Mr Smith will, next week, back an amendment in the European Parliament calling for the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry into the actions of the CIA in European member states.

The amendment will be debated on Wednesday (14 December 1400 GMT) alongside declarations from the Council and Commission on the issue and follow this weeks discussions with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Mr Smith has also, today, written to European Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini highlighting the cases of CIA planes using Scottish airports and questioning the legal position under European law and International Conventions of such flights.

Speaking about the issue this afternoon Mr Smith said

"I agree with Kenny MacAskill that without genuine assurances that these flights are not being used for torture or to transport people for torture we should not be letting them land in Scotland.

"The Scottish Executive must act on this, but in the absence of any backbone in Edinburgh or London I along with many of my Parliamentary colleagues who are seeing similar flights in their countries will be voting for a Parliamentary inquiry into CIA activity in European member states.

"At a European level we must also investigate the reported CIA camps in countries like Romania and Poland. If illegal renditions, torture, or the transportation of people who are likely to be tortured is taking place in Europe we must find out and we must put a stop to it.

"Scotland appears to be the frontline so far as the flights are concerned. If our law officers, ministers and police are unwilling to ask what's going on so we will use every means available to us to make sure European Institutions from the Council of Europe to the Commission and Parliament do take action."

Resolution

The SNP's parliamentary group are to table an amendment to a resolution on CIA activities in Europe due to come before the European Parliament at next week's plenary session in Strasbourg.

The amendment will call for the establishment of a Commission of Enquiry on the basis that the allegations of secret detention centres in Europe, if confirmed, would constitute a breach of Article 6 of the Treaty of the European Union which states "The Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950."

The motion will call for the creation of a special Commission of Enquiry under Article 193 of the EC Treaty.