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EU says existence of CIA prisons in Europe 'serious case'

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Brussels, Jan 9, IRNA
EU-CIA Prisons
The European Commission, the European Union's executive, said it has not been informed about a fax reportedly sent by the Egyptian foreign minister confirming the existence of CIA prisons on European territory.

"We were not informed about this fax. We have taken note of the reporting in the Swiss media," Commission spokesman for justice and security, Friso Roscam Abbing, told reporters here Monday.

"We are in an important period of collecting information with appropriate proof and evidence," he said referring to the
investigation being carried out by the Council of Europe.

Next week, the European Parliament is to discuss whether to form a committee to investigate the reports on CIA secret detention centers in Europe.

"The existence of those illegal prisons, let alone torture, on EU territory, if its is true, will obviously be a very serious case," said the spokesman, noting that it would be incompatible with the basic founding principles of the EU.

The fax was obtained by Swiss weekly SonntagsBlick from the Swiss secret services, who had intercepted the note sent by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Gheit to the Egyptian Embassy in London.

According to the Egyptian fax, 23 Iraqi and Afghan prisoners were interrogated at the Romanian military base Mihail Kogalniceanu on the Black Sea coast.

Last month, EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini, said that he had received an official reply from the Romanian prime minister, denying accusations that his country was hosting the secret CIA prisons.

European governments should cooperate fully with investigations into alleged secret CIA detention centers in Europe and the unlawful transfer of detainees in CIA custody over European soil, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Monday in an open letter to foreign ministers of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe.

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