A cross party delegation of Euro MPs will travel to Washington this week (8th - 13th May 2006) to unravel the truth behind the CIA 'extraordinary rendition' flights.
Green Euro MP Jean Lambert, who sits on the European Parliament's Temporary Committee of Inquiry into the CIA Flights, said that on her return she hoped to have the answers to the questions that lie at the heart of the Committee; Do CIA detention centres exist and has the CIA been using European airports to transport terrorist suspects to places where they could face torture.
Jean continued to warn that the Government could not rely solely on trust to solve the network behind such 'torture flights' and commented; "The delegation to Washington will hopefully provide us with much needed facts and answers to questions surrounding the allegations of the transport and illegal detention of prisoners by the CIA. Member states seem to have placed a lot of trust in the US administration in the context of this issue and one of the purposes of this delegation is to determine if this trust was misplaced.
"It is extremely worrying that key figures in the UK and USA originally claimed they were unaware of the CIA rendition flights yet soon changed their mind. There are people that will have known of such events yet chose not to act. It is vital that we go to Washington to untangle the spiders web of information we see before us and ensure such activities never happen again."
The delegation is due to meet with senior US officials, including Dan Fried, Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, John Bellinger, top legal adviser to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and congressman Ed Markey, as well as representatives from NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (see attached programme). The delegation will hold other informal meetings outside of the official agenda.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
Committee of Inquiry: The Conference of Presidents states that the temporary committee will liase and cooperate "as closely as possible" with inter alia, the Council of Europe, the European Commissioner responsible for human rights, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and with national parliaments. It also states the committee should submit an interim report within four months after it starts work.
Members of the Committee: For the Temporary Committee on the CIA the
Green group nominated Dutch MEP Kathalijne Buitenweg and German MEP Cem Özdemir
as full members, and as substitute members British MEP Jean Lambert and Catalan
MEP Raùl Romeva.