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Labour MEPs apparently connive in torture cover-up

February 20, 2009 11:25 AM

The European Parliament has today adopted by a comfortable majority (334 in favour, 247 against and 86 abstentions) a new resolution calling for full accountability for European collusion in CIA torture flights and secret prisons in the light of further information coming to light. This comes 2 years after MEPs adopted a report which laid out the evidence for up to a dozen European countries having been complicit.

Labour MEPs and their Socialist group allies however apparently voted against a European Liberal Democrat amendment, referring to the torture of Binyam Mohamed and alleged UK MI5 involvement, which was nonetheless approved. The amendment noted the court acceptance that relevant documents must remain secret after the Labour government said the US had threatened to end intelligence-sharing but also 'the legal challenge to that ruling based on doubts about the veracity of that assertion'.

London MEP Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and co-author of the resolution who was vice-chair of the 2007 inquiry, said:

"The adoption of this resolution sends a strong message that MEPs will not give up the search for truth and justice over the abuses committed after 2001. As the International Commission of Jurists, and former UK top spy boss Stella Rimington have recently stressed, if we stoop to the terror methods we are fighting, we lose both our moral power and our effectiveness against the bombers.

"It is disgraceful that Labour MEPs seem to have not only voted against the amendment on the UK but also abstained on the resolution as a whole. In so doing, they would have shamefully perpetuated a cover-up of the Labour government's full complicity in CIA torture operations and the role of other governments. The partial information which has already emerged about UK complicity, in revelations about the use of Diego Garcia and MI5 facilitation of torture of British citizens and residents like Binyam Mohamed, ought to prompt any self-respecting parliamentarian to want to get the whole truth out.

"The partisan deletion of any reference to Portugal from the resolution is also very regrettable, as NGO and press revelations showing Portugal connived with CIA flights and prisons must be fully investigated. The conservatives and socialists have rallied to the call from their national parties to maintain a fog of obfuscation instead of accepting responsibility for allowing or facilitating illegal CIA activities in their territory and airspace".