As the European Parliament's Temporary Committee of Inquiry into the CIA Extraordinary Rendition flights take evidence from the Italian Secret Services and the Belgian Senate today, Jean Lambert, UK Green MEP and substitute member of the Committee has called on the UK Government to launch a formal investigation.
Speaking at Liberty's 'No torture - No Compromise' seminar today, Jean Lambert, who was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights, warned that as long as the UK Government trusted the word of the United States, the truth would not be told; "With new information on the CIA Flights regularly surfacing we seem to have fallen in to a situation where the UK Government is talking about 'trust'.
"They are willing to take assurances from the USA but will not dig deeper by asking any awkward questions. It is sheer unwillingness to upset the USA. Given the stories we hear of human rights abuses in Iraq, a country under the watch of the UK and the USA, I fear questions are not being asked as they might not like the answers they get. This is not the job of a Government - they have a duty to protect and therefore a duty to ask questions," she said.
Jean, who is also a member of the Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament said it was vital that the UK launched an official inquiry even if it was considered as 'inconvenient'; "An Independent committee of inquiry could be useful not only in establishing the facts but in making recommendations to ensure we are protecting national security and human rights," she concluded.
The seminar brought together experts in the field to examine the current evidence
and highlight the need for the UK Government to launch a full and active investigation.
Alongside Jean Lambert MEP the seminar heard from Phillipe Sands QC - Author
of 'Lawless World', Martin Bright - Political Editor of the New Statesman and
Andrew Tyrie MP - Chair of the All Party Group on Extraordinary Rendition. Shami
Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, chaired the event.
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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.