Germany and EU say they still need answers to CIA allegations |

Germany and EU say they still need answers to CIA allegations

BERLIN – Germany said Wednesday that it still wanted a full explanation of the alleged CIA abduction of a German citizen, as European Parliament members said an investigative committee should determine whether the CIA held terror suspects in secret European prisons.Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent, says that he was seized in Macedonia on Dec. 31, 2003, and taken by CIA agents to Afghanistan, where he was allegedly abused before being released in Albania in May 2004.Al-Masri is suing the CIA for wrongful imprisonment and torture. At the same time, the European Union has been roiled by allegations that the CIA held terror suspects in secret prisons in member nations.German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told parliament Wednesday that the government only learned of al-Masri’s case after his release. German officials also said they did not have enough information to determine whether the CIA had used German airspace for flights to covert prisons.Steinmeier, who was chief of staff under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at the time, said German diplomats and security officials made dozens of requests for information about al-Masri’s case from the United States and other countries.Federal police had “urged and reminded” U.S. authorities of the request about a half-dozen times since September 2004, Steinmeier said in parliament.”All the countries and authorities affected knew that we, Germany, wanted and want an explanation of what happened,” he said. “These efforts have not relented.”A CIA spokesman in Washington said the agency had no comment.Senior members of the European Parliament, meanwhile, proposed setting up an investigative committee to determine whether U.S. agents held terror suspects in secret European prisons.Leaders of the political blocs in the EU assembly said they will determine the mandate and makeup of the committee early next month before putting the proposal to a vote.EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini told lawmakers that there was still no proof that detainees had been illegally held in Europe or transferred to other countries via EU territory. He cautioned against drawing conclusions without firm evidence.—-Associated Press Writer Jan Sliva in Strasbourg, France contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado

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