Thursday, 26 November 2009

MP's "rendition" fears over airport

SOLIHULL MP Lorely Burt has written to Ministers over the landing of planes at Birmingham airport that were allegedly used in “rendition” torture flights.

She said she was “deeply concerned” by reports which said plane spotters saw a jet land at the airport and met by two army helicopters in October last year.

The 22-seat plane is named in an inquiry by the European parliament into alleged CIA torture flights, The Guardian reports. The Ministry of Defence denied rendition links.

The MP said in a statement: “I have challenged Birmingham Airport on this matter, and they inform me it is not their job to 'police' the flights or to ascertain their origin or destination.

“Neither do they have a responsibility to determine who might be on board, whether or not Birmingham is the final destination or passengers are in transit.”

She added: “Ultimately, Government must take responsibility for ensuring that British airports are never used as staging posts for prisoners who may be subject to torture anywhere in the world.

“That means that more information must be made available to aviation authorities.

“Airport operators also deserve clearer guidance to ensure that adequate checks and balances are in place.”

Mrs Burt, whose constituency includes the airport, said she had asked ministers and air traffic control chiefs to state:

1. The nature of the flights recently reported.

2. The owners of the Aircraft involved.

3. The operators of the Aircraft involved.

4. The charterer of the Aircraft involved.

5. The origin (s) of the aircraft involved.

6. The final destinations of the aircraft involved

7. The people on each aircraft involved, their origin and final destinations.

8. The role played by the Contro Authorities in attending the flights.

9. Which control authorities attended the flights.

10. What flight plans were filed for the fights.

11. What responsibility Birmingham Airport has towards such flights in investigating alleged illegal activity.

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