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European Parliament Investigates CIA Overflights in Portugal
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The European Parliament said Thursday it was investigating whether alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) flights transporting prisoners to the military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, landed at Portugal's airports or passed through its airspace.

The Portuguese government has registered the flights, but never recorded the fact that the flights were heading for Guantanamo, said Ana Gomes, a delegate of the parliament's special commission on the issue.

The information then registered had been altered to hide the clandestine transfer of prisoners, she added.

A new list handed over by Portugal's air traffic control authority showed that 94 flights to and from Guantanamo either passed through Portuguese airspace or made a stop-over on the country's mid-Atlantic Azores islands between January 2002 and June 2006.

Earlier lists handed over by Luis Amado, then Portugal's defense minister and now the country's foreign minister, had not mentioned Guantanamo.

He has denied allegations that the reports he handed over were incorrect. "Any question of contradiction in the answers given, is out of the question," he told the commission.

In September, US President George W. Bush acknowledged for the first time that terror suspects have been held in CIA-run prisons overseas, but did not specify where.

Portugal is one of several European countries under investigation by the European Parliament over suspicions that the CIA had transported detainees through their territory without proper authorization.

(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2006)

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