Amnesty International Asks Spanish Government to Investigate the CIA’s Dirty War in Spain

Amnesty International (AI) has published today a report in which it demands justice for the victims of the dirty war against terror waged by the previous U.S. administration. The report, entitled “Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Rendition and Secret Detention,” documents the most recent evidence of the CIA’s illegal activities in cases of enforced disappearances, torture, and mistreatment of suspects.

CIA planes made numerous stops at Spanish airports during the course of these missions between 2003 and 2005, and these flights are being investigated by the National High Court. Public prosecutor Vicente González Mota has requested the arrest of 14 presumed CIA agents who made up the crew of one of these flights by which a kidnapped person was transported. The spies used false identities, according to the preliminary evidence of the investigation. In addition, a plane with important Al Qaeda prisoners originating in Guantanamo landed at Los Rodeos airport (Tenerife) in April 2004 en route to secret prisons in Romania and Morocco, according to a report by Reprieve, a nongovernmental organization of human rights lawyers based in London. According to the investigation, whose results were published by El País, we now have for the first time proof that Al Qaeda prisoners did indeed spend time on Spanish soil while in passage to CIA secret prisons.

“The EU has utterly failed to hold member states accountable for the abuses they’ve committed,” declared Nicolas Berger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “These abuses occurred on European soil. We simply can’t allow Europe to join the U.S. in becoming an ‘accountability-free’ zone. The tide is slowly turning with some countries starting investigations but much more needs to be done. No one should escape responsibility for the unlawful transfer, enforced disappearances, torture and secret detention which occurred in the context of these CIA-led operations. National governments have a legal obligation to ensure their full accountability for such violations. There is progress in a number of European countries toward accountability…. The too often repeated mantra of ‘need for state secrecy in order to protect national security’ must not be used as a screen for impunity.”

Amnesty International has requested that the Spanish government work to ensure that the victims of the program of secret renditions and illegal arrests of the CIA receive justice and reparations. Accordingly, it insists that the facts be investigated and that the corresponding individual responsibilities be established. In addition to the flight stopovers in Spain, Amnesty International makes reference to the interrogations of detainees carried out at Guantanamo by Spanish police. Other countries cited by the report are Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

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