Not all flights from Mallorca are for tourists

By Maria Jesus Prades at ABC News

MADRID, Spain Nov 14, 2005 ‘ European probes of the CIA’s alleged covert transfers of Islamic terror suspects have spread to Spain, where a court said Monday it has received a prosecutor’s report on allegations that the agency used a Spanish airport on the island of Mallorca.

The document stemmed from a four-month investigation prompted by reports from a Mallorca newspaper on the arrivals of suspicious aircraft.

The newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, said a CIA plane that took off from the Mediterranean island was involved in the alleged kidnapping of a Lebanese-born German national, who says he was transported to Afghanistan, questioned as an al-Qaida suspect and tortured.

Bartomeu Barcelo, the chief prosecutor for the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, submitted the investigative report to the National Court in July, court officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because court rules bar them from giving their names.

Diario de Mallorca also reported this month that Spanish police have identified three planes a Boeing 737 and two Gulfstream jets as having been used by the CIA at the airport in Mallorca’s capital, Palma, in its “extraordinary rendition” program.

The U.S. government has been criticized by human rights groups for practicing “extraordinary rendition” sending suspected terrorists to foreign countries, where they are detained, interrogated and subjected to possible ill-treatment.

The prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the report on Monday, as did police in Mallorca. The Spanish court officials said it was not clear if the National Court had begun to or agreed to undertake its own probe.

In a series of articles that began in March, Diario de Mallorca said more than a dozen CIA flights had used Palma airport. It said that in one case, a CIA plane involved in the alleged kidnapping of Khaled al-Masri in Macedonia early last year had taken off from Palma airport en route to the Balkan country.

Al-Masri says he was abducted, flown to Afghanistan and interrogated for suspected ties to al-Qaida.