Council of Europe backs calls for Shannon flights probe

From Ireland Online

Europe’s leading human rights body has backed calls for the Irish Government to mount a formal investigation of US military landings at Shannon Airport.

The call comes amid on-going controversy over the US “extraordinary rendition” programme that sees the CIA transporting suspected Islamic militants to secret interrogation centres around the world.

Several people detained under the programme have turned out to be innocent after allegedly being tortured for months in countries like Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Critics claim the CIA is effectively “outsourcing” torture because the practice is banned under US law.

Irish peace activists say planes involved in the programme have landed at Shannon on numerous occasions, but the Irish Government says it accepts US assurances that no prisoners were on board any of the flights.

The Irish Human Rights Commission has said the Government has a duty to conduct a proper investigation rather than simply accepting such assurances.

The 46-nation Council of Europe, set up to safeguard human rights and democracy on the continent, has now backed this stance, saying the issue should concern all Irish people.