Portugal: Renditions: Judicial investigation into CIA flights begins


The Portuguese general prosecutor Cândida Almeida, head of the Central Investigation and Penal Action Department (DCIAP), announced on 5 February 2006 that investigating magistrates would investigate the stopovers made in Portugal by CIA flights suspected of involvement in renditions.

The investigation, which envisages the possibility of bringing criminal charges against people whose identity is not yet known, will focus on the issue of "torture or inhuman and cruel treatment" against detainees suspected of international terrorist offences, and was instigated by allegations of "illegal activities and serious human rights violations" made by MEP Ana Gomes to the attorney general, Pinto Monteiro, on 26 January 2007. Gomes was very active in the TDIP commission, and repeatedly complained about the failure by Portuguese authorities (from both the current and past government) to provide information concerning suspicious flights, leading to furious exchanges of accusations with the foreign minister, her socialist party colleague Luís Amado.

Journalist Rui Costa Pinto was also heard by the DCIAP, as a result of a report that she wrote concerning CIA flights on the island of Terceira in the Azores, where Lajes airbase is found, whose publication was not authorised by her magazine, "Visão". Gomes expressed her satisfaction for the opening of the investigation, but noted that she had always claimed that a parliamentary inquiry would also be necessary.

Público, 5-6.2.2007.

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