Court receives report on alleged CIA use of airport

Spain’s National Court has received a prosecutor’s report on allegations that the CIA used an airport on the Spanish island of Mallorca for a program of covert transfers of terror suspects, court officials said today.

Spain’s National Court has received a prosecutor’s report on allegations that the CIA used an airport on the Spanish island of Mallorca for a program of covert transfers of terror suspects, court officials said today.

The chief prosecutor for the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, submitted the 114-page report to the court in July, after a four-month investigation prompted by articles in a Mallorca newspaper, the court officials said.

The newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, said Spanish police have identified three planes used by the CIA at the airport in Palma, the capital of the Mediterranean island, in its “extraordinary rendition” programme, in which terror suspects were transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible ill-treatment.

The office of the prosecutor, Bartomeu Barcelo, declined to comment on the report today, as did police in Mallorca.

The Spanish court officials said it was not immediately clear if the National Court has begun or agreed to undertake its own investigation.

Diario de Mallorca said more than a dozen CIA flights had used Palma airport. It said that in one case, a CIA plane involved in the alleged kidnapping of a German-born Lebanese national, Khaled al-Masri, in Macedonia early last year had taken off from Palma airport en route to Macedonia.

Al-Masri says he was abducted, flown to Afghanistan and interrogated for suspected ties to al-Qaida.

Weeks later, al-Masri has said, he was turned over to officials he believes were from the United States who flew him to a prison in Afghanistan – where he claims he was shackled, beaten, injected with drugs and questioned persistently about his alleged links with al-Qaida.

He says he staged a hunger strike and was released last May after being flown to Albania.

Italy and Germany are investigating alleged CIA involvement in the alleged kidnapping of a suspected Muslim extremist.

In Italy, prosecutors are seeking the extradition of 22 purported CIA operatives accused of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, in 2003 in Milan.

German prosecutors are probing the same case on grounds that one of the CIA agents may have touched German soil when the plane carrying the suspect to Egypt passed through Ramstein Air Base. The base is considered US territory. Nasr was allegedly tortured in Egypt.

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