By Aleander Balzan in the EU Observer
“I have just learnt, to my regret, that the Macedonian Minister of the Interior, Ljubomir Mihailovski, does not want to meet the delegation of the European Parliament’s temporary committee,” said socialist MEP Claudio Fava in a statement. Claudio Fava is the rapporteur of the European Parliament committee created in January to investigate alledged CIA activities in Europe.
A group of EU lawmakers were planning to visit Macedonia in April, after a German citizen of Lebanese origin claimed that he was arrested by CIA agents in Macedonia.
On 13 March, Khaled el Masri gave his testimony during a sitting of the temporary committee on the alleged activities in European countries by the CIA. Khaled El- Masri said that he was arrested by CIA agents in Macedonia in December 2003, flown to Afghanistan and held there for months. Following five months of alleged torture he was than declared innocent and released in Albania.
In the European Parliament, members from the main conservative group challenged his allegations and insisted that he had no proof while liberal deputies accused the conservatives of trying to undermine the work of the committee.
“To find the truth about this case and about other likely cases of ‘extraordinary rendition’ is both political and moral obligation for our committee or for any European country,” added Mr Fava.
Allegations of illegal CIA activities in Europe were first voiced in November last year, after a Washington Post report said that the CIA used camps in Eastern European countries to interrogate terrorist suspects. Later on, the NGO, Human Rights Watch, reconfirmed the allegations, adding that interrogation methods amounting to torture could have been used.
Washington has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations over secret prisons in Europe but has denied using or condoning torture.