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29 May 2008 Edition

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Amnesty report indicts Irish Government over rendition flights

Amnesty International’s annual report, published this week, was heavily critical of Ireland’s failure to put in place safeguards against the secret transfer of detainees by the US military, a practice known as rendition.
Despite evidence suggesting otherwise, the Irish Government continues to accept assurances from the US administration that rendition flights are not passing through Ireland. However, according to the Secretary General of Amnesty, Irene Khan, such assurances are not worth the paper they are written on. They are the same assurances that the British Government accepted before being forced to admit that a rendition flight had in fact passed through Britain.
In response to the Amnesty report Sinn Féin has once again called for an end to the use of Shannon Airport by the US military and intelligence agencies. Short of that, the party wants the Irish Government to ensure that all US military and CIA-related planes going through Shannon are inspected to ensure that rendition flights are not being facilitated in this country. For this to happen, Sinn Féin TD and International Affairs Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said that Gardaí must be allowed to actively board such planes as they land in Shannon.
The Dublin South Central TD has also said that the use of Shannon Airport should ultimately be withheld from US military and intelligence agency flights given the denial of human rights and practices of torture that US forces have been engaged in.
The use of Shannon Airport for the US-led war efforts in the Middle East and the facilitation of the US rendition programme, whether the victims remain on the plane in Irish airspace or not, is a complete compromise of Irish neutrality. It is illegal, absolutely unacceptable and as a matter of urgency should be prevented from continuing.

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