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EU report slams Sweden for CIA deportations

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10:42 CEST+02:00
Sweden has been fiercely criticised in a preliminary report from the European Parliament committee investigating the use of European airports by the CIA for transporting suspected terrorists.

The government takes the criticism seriously, said migration minister Barbro Holmberg.

The Italian author of the report, Claudio Fava, proposed that the European Parliament should single out Sweden for handing over two Egyptians suspected of terrorism to CIA agents at Bromma airport in December 2001.

They were taken to Egypt despite the fact that the Swedish authorities knew that there was a high risk that the pair would be tortured or subjected to inhumane treatment.

EU member of parliament Cecilia Malmström described the criticism as 'devastating' and complained that the Swedish government still had not come clean about the deportations.

Inger Segelström, a Social Democrat who, along with Malmström, is a member of the CIA committee, was less critical of her party colleagues in Sweden. She argued that the report was unclear and said that the Swedish government had requested an independent inquiry into what happened to the men in Egypt.

Barbro Holmberg told TT that the report had not taken into consideration the fact that Sweden had now changed its procedures.

"We take this and previous criticism seriously but such a deportation could never happen today. A court had made a risk assessment and the government would be obliged to consider its decision," she said.

Holmberg rejected the suggestion that Sweden was not giving the full story.

"On the contrary, we have pushed for an independent investigation, but Egypt has said no," she said, adding that the Swedish side of the affair had been investigated thoroughly.

Claudio Fava proposed that the EU parliament should condemn the use of 'diplomatic guarantees' that people will be treated humanely when they are deported.

These guarantees are not worth much if they do not fulfil the objective of protecting an individual's rights, he said, in an indirect dig at Sweden, which received such guarantees from Egypt.

The CIA committee said there is evidence that on a number of occasions the CIA either kidnapped or illegally arrested suspected terrorists and transported them illegally through European territory.

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TT/The Local

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