Reprieve, the legal action charity that represents more than 30 Guantánamo Bay prisoners, commends Portuguese Prosecutors for investigating Portuguese complicity in “rendition,” known in simple terms as kidnapping and torture. With its submission of new evidence to the Portuguese inquiry, Reprieve aims to shed light on Portuguese involvement in American rendition flights, disappearances and transfers to various prison facilities, including Guantánamo Bay.
• Over 700 prisoners were apparently rendered by US military planes through Portuguese airspace to Guantánamo Bay, without any legal process, to imprisonment that the UN has determined to be “torturous,” and to possibly face the death penalty at the hands of illegitimate military tribunals;
• At least ten prisoners were apparently rendered through Portuguese airspace and stopped on Portuguese territory in the Azores en route to Guantánamo Bay. Many of these prisoners had undergone unspeakable torture prior to this flight, and were taken for additional abusive detention in Guantánamo Bay, where they too may face the death penalty;
• At least four CIA aircraft apparently stopped on Portuguese territory immediately before or after rendering at least six ‘ghost prisoners’ to torture between 2002 and 2005;
• Between 2001 and 2006 there were at least 115 suspect stopovers at Portuguese airports by aircraft associated with the CIA.
“With this evidence, it is clear that Portuguese officials have many questions to answer. How much did the government know? Why did it allow the United States to use Portuguese territory to violate international law? What will Portugal do to help the men flown through its territory who now face the death penalty and torture? Justice will not be done until there is fair and open investigation.”Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve stated.
“The truth must come out. We must never forget that the best defense against extremism is the strong protection of human rights. If in fighting against terrorism we give up our fundamental values, we have already lost the battle,” Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve, continued.
To read Reprieve’s submission to the Portuguese inquiry on rendition please visit our
website at www.reprieve.org.uk For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office at +44 207 427 1099