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Alyn hails European Parliament torture vote

UK urged to come clean on involvement in secret rendition flights.

SNP Member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Alyn Smith has hailed the adoption of a resolution today (11 February) urging EU member states, including the UK, to acknowledge involvement in secret flights operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) linked to illegal interrogations and torture, breaching international law. 

The resolution echoes the recent US Senate Committee report, and will put pressure on the member states to justify their actions. More immediately, it instructs the Foreign Affairs, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Committees of the Parliament to ramp up their Inquiries into the actions of EU member states. 

Alyn, who first raised the issue of Scottish and UK involvement in rendition as far back as December 2005, has repeated his calls for a full judicial inquiry to examine the UK Government’s role in extraordinary rendition and immediate publication of the inquiry into UK involvement in Iraq War, led by John Chilcot.

Alyn said:

“Despite the appalling findings of the US Senate report about inhumane treatment of detainees we have seen no urgency from the UK Government to get to the truth on this matter.

“The CIA's illegal counterterrorism operations were made possible by a number of EU member states, their authorities and intelligence services. Their compliance allowed the CIA officers to threaten to hurt, rape, and kill family members of detainees. ‘Enhanced interrogation’ practices, used by the CIA, included water-boarding, mock execution, stress positions and prolonged deprivation of sleep.

“This is simply unacceptable, and gives the lie to our fine words about Human Rights and international law, making us hypocrites in the eyes of many throughout the Middle East.  It is also disgraceful that despite over 6,000 pages of documents and testimony recording crimes against humanity, the report hasn’t triggered any trials or resignations in the UK Government.

“The Council of Europe has said that at least 12 European countries, including the UK, made the CIA's illegal counterterrorism operations possible. This collusion was, the report found, sometimes achieved through corrupt means based on substantial amounts of money provided by the CIA in exchange for their cooperation.

“Today’s united call from the Parliament is a strong signal to member state governments that this scandal is not going away. The Scottish Government is demanding answers from the UK and every country directly or indirectly involved in these shameful practices must conduct open and thorough investigations and bring to justice those responsible.

“Member states’ agencies should not have been in the business of kidnapping and ‘rendering’ and I urge my colleagues from countries like Poland, Romania, Lithuania and others to press for judicial inquiries, as we need a full explanation of what happened in our name on our soil.”