Romanian Senators of the Defence, Public Order and National Security Committee meet on Friday a delegation of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament, in a visit to document the secret detention facilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The delegation of the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee arrived in Bucharest on Thursday in order to hold talks with Ion Iliescu, Ioan Talpes, Tiberiu Nitu but also with civil society representatives about alleged CIA centres in Romania.
The LIBE delegation consists of Tanja Fajon, Eva Joly, Laura Ferrara, Jeroen Lenaers and Barbara Spinelli.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu informed in a letter earlier this month Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu about the LIBE Commmittee’s visit.
“We inform you that within the LIBE Committee of the EP preliminary steps were taken to implement the EP Resolution of February 11 2012 on the Executive Summary of the U.S. Senate report on torture practices in CIA’s secret detention facilities. Therefore, the LIBE Committee of the EP has recently decided to set up an informal working group to implement the recommendations of the EP Resolution of February 11 2015. The working group should start its activity in September 2015, by organizing a public hearing on the Executive Summary of the U.S. Senate report on torture practices in CIA’s secret detention facilities, scheduled on September 14-15, and a documentation visit to Romania of a delegation headed by the LIBE Committee Chair Claude Moraes (Socialists and Democrats, UK), scheduled on September 24-25 2014,” Aurescu’s letter reads.
According to this document, the LIBE Committee held a closed-doors meeting on June 17 and agreed on the members of the informal working group. They are Claude Moraes, Chair (S&D, UK), Jeroen Lenaers (EPP, Netherlands), Tanja Fajon (S&D, Slovenia), Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), Sophia In’t Veld (ALDE, Netherlands), Marie-Christine Vergiat (GEU, France), Eva Joly (Greens, France), Laura Ferrara (EFDD, Italy). The informal working group will also include members of the Foreign Affairs (AFET) and Human Rights (DROI) committees.
“As regards the September 24-25 documentation visit to Romania, the members of the informal working group voiced their interest in a meeting of the LIBE delegation, at the Parliament of Romania, with MPs that were members in the Senate Committee that investigated the allegation in hosting CIA prisons on Romanian territory, which’s report has been adopted in 2008,” the document adds.
According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, “the recent consultations initiated by the LIBE Secretariat with the Romanian side in the perspective of actions scheduled September 2015 resulted in a preliminary political signal of a ‘partnership approach’ to the visit to Romania and the interest of approaching this problem with special sensitive potential in a cooperating way.”
“From the perspective of Romania’s interests, an image opportunity arises as regards showing the transparency and availability to clear the media allegations about Romania being part of that programme of the CIA,” Aurescu’s letter mentions.
Former counterintelligence chief Talpes: Romania was never offered to open or use CIA detention centres
Romania has never been offered to open or use detention centres owned by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), former head of Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) Ioan Talpes told Agerpres on Thursday.
He said there is an attempt being made at completely changing the real picture. “Romania has never been offered to open or use [CIA] detention centres. No such talks have ever been conducted with Romania,” said Talpes.
The former counterintelligence chief confirmed he will have a discussion with the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament, without providing any detail.
Deputy Chairman of the Romanian Senate Ioan Chelaru said earlier this September that the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs will meet the LIBE Committee to discuss torture and secret CIA detention centres as well as the recommendations of a resolution on this matter from the European Parliament
The European Parliament’s committees for civil liberties, foreign policy and human rights have reopened their investigation into the alleged rendition and illegal detention of prisoners carried out by the CIA in EU member states, following US Senate revelations about the use of torture by the CIA and on the basis of a resolution adopted by Parliament on February 11.
This investigation entails, among others, the dispatching of a fact-finding parliamentary mission to the member states accused of having had secret CIA detention centres on their territory, and the collection of all information and relevant evidence concerning possible bribery or other acts of corruption in connection to the CIA programme, according to a European Parliament press release.
The accusations concerning the CIA’s use of EU member states such as Romania, Poland and Lithuania for its rendition and illegal detention of prisoners were investigated by the European Parliament’s temporary committee set up in 2006.
Since then, MEPs have repeatedly asked for thorough investigations into the EU member states’ collaboration with the CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition programme.
The American Senate presented in December 2014 an investigation report into the “forceful interrogation” techniques used by the CIA in 2001-2009.
Washington Post informed that, according to the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation programme, Romania is allegedly on the list of locations of CIA secret prisons and several prisoners suspected of ties with terrorist groups were interrogated within the detention centre located in Romania.
The report’s unclassified version has a series of blackened out information, including the names of the countries that hosted secret CIA prisons, but the details offered by the document allow the decoding of these detention centres, the Washington Post adds.
According to the newspaper, the report mentions prisons in five countries: Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Afghanistan and Thailand, the prisons being given code names based on colours. Thus, the CIA’s alleged secret prison in Romania is called “detention site black,” the one in Poland is called detention site blue, the one in Lithuania detention site purple, the one in Thailand detention site green. Four colours are used for the secret prisons in Afghanistan.
The public version of the report, consisting of only 528 out of the document’s total 6,700 pages, shows that in some cases the CIA paid millions of Dollars to some officials in order for them to allow the setting up of CIA prisons on the territory of their countries.
The alleged prison in Romania is mentioned on several occasions.
The report shows that the CIA decided to set up detention centres in Romania and Lithuania in 2002 and 2003, and the first CIA detainees allegedly arrived at the detention site in Romania in the autumn of 2003.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, one of the detainees that allegedly arrived in Romania, has in fact sued our country and Poland at the ECHR.
There was a parliamentary investigation into this issue in Romania, which established that there were no CIA prisons on the territory of the country.
After the US Senate report was published, the Romanian Foreign Ministry pointed out on 16 December 2014 that Romanian authorities have no evidence pointing to the existence of CIA detention centres or renditions carried out by the Agency on the national territory, but they cannot ignore the “allegations” so they express their openness toward elucidating them.
The High Court of Justice is currently carrying out an investigation into the issue of CIA prisons, following a complaint filed by Saudi national Abd al-Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri for secret detention, ill treatments and rendition.