Iceland silent on CIA torture flight info request while Norway, Denmark and Finland co-operate

Iceland is among the European countries which have not responded to an information request from two international human rights organisations about so-called CIA torture flights connected to the USA’s War on Terror. Denmark, Norway and Finland, however, did respond.

Rendition on Record is the name of a newly-released report on the CIA prisoner flights published jointly by Reprieve and Access Info Europe. In the report it says that of the 27 European countries asked for information about CIA flights through their airspace, only six responded adequately: Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Lithuania, Norway and Finland. The USA also responded to the request for information.

In fact the American authorities were particularly helpful, with the FAA handing over 27,128 records relating to 44 aeroplanes used by the CIA between 2002 and 2006.

The CIA is accused of having secretly flown terrorist suspects for torture and interrogation in several countries around the world.

The Reprieve and Access Info Europe research took six months and the report’s authors say their requests for information are regularly rejected in Europe — or they are not taken seriously and passed slowly from pillar to post between unenthusiastic government agencies.

One of the report’s authors, Crofton Black, says on the Reprieve website: “It’s a shocking indictment of European complacency that, while the USA will gladly release over 27,000 records, Europe’s air traffic manager Eurocontrol won’t even release one. It’s equally unacceptable that countries such as Austria, France, Italy, Latvia, Romania, and Spain simply ignore requests for data relating to serious human rights abuses.”

Although Iceland was not names as a country which rejected the request out of hand, the country is put under the “Administrative Silence” category.

The spokesman for Isavia, the operator of Icelandic airports, says the delay in responding to the request is because the request itself was sent to the wrong place to begin with – going to the civil aviation authority, which then handed it on to Isavia. He added that such information cannot be handed out without government approval; so a request was sent to the Ministry of the Interior. The spokesman would not tell Ví yesterday whether or not the ministry has yet responded to that request.

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