Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'No Secret CIA Prisons' In Romania


25 February 2008
Bucharest _ Romanian officials have again strenuously denied fresh accusations that the country hosted secret CIA prisons on its soil.

"We found no clear evidence about Romanian involvement in CIA flights. It's also in our interests to try to see what happened," Norica Nicolai, former chief of a Parliament committee which investigated
the country's alleged involvement in 'extraordinary rendition' said Monday.

'Extraordinary rendition' is the term used by United States intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, which refers to the transport of terror suspects around the world for interrogation.

In these third countries, terror suspects have no legal protection or rights under American law, and Romania has been implicated in a probe which claims the country hosted a prison where suspects were detained and interrogated.

On Sunday, President Traian Basescu denied allegations about the alleged transfer of prisoners at one Romanian airbase.

"The airport was never used for CIA flights. All the United States' flight plans were revealed and, besides, Romanians had access to all buildings on the base," Basescu said.

His comments followed a report by the Associated Press news agency which suggested that on five occasions between 2004-2005, large, mysterious parcels were exchanged which, according to a Romanian official who says he witnessed it, looked like bundled-up terror suspects.

Furthermore on Friday the European Commission, EC, said Poland and Romania have been dodging requests to clarify their possible role in the extraordinary rendition programme.

"The reply so far received from Romania was not considered complete by EC Vice President Franco Frattini. So, we are currently awaiting replies to our reminders," an European official said late last week.

The European Union has previously indicated that if reports of secret CIA prisons in Europe were true, states involved would face serious consequences including the possible suspension of their EU voting rights.

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