Magazine article Europe-East

Ep CIA Inquiry : Us Terror Suspect Policy Has Changed, Meps Learn

Magazine article Europe-East

Ep CIA Inquiry : Us Terror Suspect Policy Has Changed, Meps Learn

Article excerpt

MEPs have been told by a top United States official that the US has changed its policy on treatment of terror suspects. Legal advisor to the US State Department John Bellingeraimplicitly admitted renditions took place in 2002-2003 but are not practised anymore, a source told Europolitics. The 13 MEPs were in Washington DC from 8 to 12 May to find out about the activities of the US intelligence agency, the CIA, in Europe, as part of an EP inquiry.

The delegation grilled Mr Bellinger on 11 May on claims of CIA 'extraordinary renditions', a practice whereby terror suspects are transported to a country and intelligence extracted from them through torture. Asked about Maher Arar, a Canadian sent by the US to Syria, Mr Bellinger said this was not technically a rendition as Mr Arar was expelled by US immigration services. He would not comment on the case of Khaled El Masri, a German citizen allegedly secretly detained and tortured by CIA agents in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Mr Bellinger, who previously advised US President George Bush on detention policy, was accompanied by US Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried. Mr Bellinger, who did most of the talking according to one source, was initially hostile to Parliament rapporteur Claudio Fava (Socialists, Italy), telling him he had no jurisdiction to question him. He also told MEPs the US was only bound to apply the UN Convention Against Torture on American territory but that it nevertheless sought assurances anyone transferred elsewhere would not be tortured. …

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