Scottish rendition flights police probe ordered

Inverness airport is suspected to have been used in rendition flights. Picture: TSPL
Inverness airport is suspected to have been used in rendition flights. Picture: TSPL
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THE Lord Advocate has ordered a probe into new claims CIA planes landed at Scottish airports as part of an “extraordinary rendition” programme.

A study conducted by two academics at UK universities claims 13 flights used Aberdeen, Wick and Inverness airports in the US security service’s “war on terror”..

Aberdeen Airport. Picture: submitted

Aberdeen Airport. Picture: submitted

Extraordinary rendition was used by the US Government in the years after the September 11 attacks. It involved the secret kidnapping, detention and transfer of terror suspects to other countries for interrogation and alleged torture.

Sam Raphael of Kingston University in London, developed the Rendition Project with Ruth Blakely, from Kent University.

The project revealed data which shows five flights landed at Wick and Inverness, with a further three landing at Aberdeen International Airport.

However, it could not be established whether the planes had prisoners on board.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, who was contacted by Highland MSP John Finnie asking him to investigate the new claims, told MSPs he was confident the police would conduct a “thorough inquiry”.

He said: “The use of torture cannot be condoned. It is against international law and contrary to the common law of Scotland.

“A police inquiry was conducted into allegations of extraordinary rendition at Scottish airports in 2007 and 2008. Following the inquiry the police concluded that there was insufficient credible and reliable information to enable them to commence a criminal investigation.

“I’m aware of the information provided by the rendition project by researchers at Kent and Kingston universities. I consider that this information, and any other information additional to that considered by the police in 2007, should be the subject of police consideration.

“I will thereafter ask Police Scotland to give consideration to this information.”

But he advised that police would require a high standard of proof for criminal proceedings to be brought.

Mr Mulholland explained: “It should be recognised that in order for criminal proceedings to be raised it must be proved that a crime known to the law of Scotland has been committed.

“Speculation, conjecture, innuendo and belief are insufficient. What you need is hard evidence, sufficient evidence to the requisite high standard of proof is required.

“But I am confident that the police will do their duty in this matter and conduct a thorough inquiry in accordance with the principles of Police Scotland.”