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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 16:32 GMT
Terror suspect transfers ban move
Boeing 737 suspected of transporting Islamic terror suspects
Extraordinary rendition is now part of the CIA's tactics
A Northern Ireland airport may be the first in Europe to ban the CIA's controversial "extraordinary rendition" flights.

The practice involves the alleged illegal CIA transfer of terror suspects to secret prisons in Europe.

Management at City of Derry Airport have confirmed that the matter is under discussion.

It follows talks between the publicly-owned airport and human rights group Amnesty International.

City of Derry Airport was suspected of being used by US agents transporting detainees, but was later cleared of any wrongdoing by Amnesty.

Campaigners have claimed UK airspace has been used for transferring suspects to places where they could be tortured.

The government has said it would not permit flights if such activity was suspected.

At the minute the practicalities of this are being looked at by council officers with a view to bringing a motion before the council - I obviously hope we can do that
Councillor Gerry Diver
Airport Committee

The US has admitted the CIA had used prisons abroad for the secret detention of terror suspects but has not specified where the jails were and insisted torture had not taken place.

Amnesty International said Derry's council-owned airport was "one of many originally named as a stopover destination for two Gulfstream private jets, known to have been used in the past by the CIA for so-called 'rendition' flights".

"Subsequently, Amnesty International was able to give the airport the 'all-clear', after records for the suspicious flights were shown to members of the local Amnesty Foyle Group," said Patrick Corrigan.

Amnesty was confident the council would introduce a landmark ban within weeks that will put pressure on other airports to follow suit, he said.

The airport is owned by Derry City Council
The airport is owned by Derry City Council

"I think we can say with as much confidence as we can garner that this will be a first for Europe.

"We are not aware of any other local authority or any other airport in Europe which has a specific anti-rendition policy."

Airport manager Seamus Devine said: "It's something that we are currently discussing. When we are satisfied that such a policy can be implemented then the council can discuss it."

'More questions'

Councillor Gerry Diver, a member of the governing Airport Committee, said his SDLP party was emphatic about its anti-rendition policy.

"It's something we are very keen to see and support," he said.

"At the minute the practicalities of this are being looked at by council officers with a view to bringing a motion before the council. I obviously hope we can do that."

CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia
US admitted CIA used prisons abroad for secret detention of terror suspects

However, DUP councillor Joe Miller said it was "not a burning issue."

"What will it do in real terms? How can it be enforced? Do we go into every single plane? This throws up more questions than it answers."

A Derry City Council spokesman said it had received a formal request from Amnesty International to adopt its policy on rendition flights.

The council said it was anticipated a report on the matter would be discussed initially at the next airport committee meeting scheduled for April.




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