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UK MPs press for answers over US 'rendition flights'

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Dec 1, IRNA
UK MPs-US Rendition Flights
A new all-party group of MPs has been set up to challenge the British government to clarify whether UK airports have been used by US planes to ferry terrorist suspects to secret internment camps in eastern Europe.

The group, led by former Labor minister Chris Mullins, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell, and Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, are holding their first meeting on Monday on 'extraordinary renditions', according to the BBC.

The renewed pressure on the government to stop evading questions about the flights comes after it was disclosed on Tuesday that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has written to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica about the issue on behalf of the EU.

Tyrie said that he was surprised by the number of MPs who said they would join the group. Many people, he said, were worried that the UK might be condoning torture.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today program Thursday, he accused the British Foreign Office of producing 'obfuscation and carefully worded replies' to his questions, saying he had been told records of transit applications were not kept.

"There is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that something is going on, that there are flights taking place to countries where they can be tortured," the Tory MP said.

He argued that the British government should be enforcing the law and the United Nations convention against torture.

"We are trying to win over the hearts and minds of millions of people in the Middle East, saying that we have got a better way of doing things and at the same time we seem to be sinking to the very standards that we have been criticizing," Tyrie said.

Civil rights group Liberty has separately written to several chief constables demanding the police investigate claims that CIA flights stopped at UK airports.

Airports allegedly involved include several airports in and around London, like Biggin Hill, Luton, Gatwick, Farnborough, RAF Northolt and Stanstead as well as Heathrow.

Birmingham in central England, Bournemouth on the southern coast, RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, Mildenhall in Suffolk, eastern England and Glasgow and Prestwick in Scotland have also been implicated.

HC/2322/1414



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