Amnesty criticises report on CIA rendition flights

A suspect Hercules plane belonging to Prescott Support pictured at Helsinki-Vantaa airport on 16 May, 2003. Prescott Support is believed to co-operate with the CIA in prison transfer flights.
Susanna Mehtonen, legal adviser of Amnesty International Finland, says that the actions of the Foreign Ministry during the investigation into the flights in May 2006 leave a great deal to be desired.

Tuomioja: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs did all it could to conduct a full investigation into the matter.

THE human rights organisation Amnesty International has criticised the way that the Finnish government acted in connection with the report on CIA rendition flights.

Susanna Mehtonen, legal adviser of Amnesty International Finland, says that the actions of the Foreign Ministry during the investigation into the flights in May 2006 leave a great deal to be desired.

A report published by the American Open Society Foundation last week claims that in a discussion with Undersecretary Markus Lyra, Marilyn Ware, the US ambassador in Helsinki at the time, had praised Erkki Tuomioja (SDP) for playing down the information the media had on the CIA flights. According to the report, Lyra had responded by saying that the Finnish government did not want to attach too much importance to the matter.

Ombudsman requested statements

“At the time, Finland was prepared to make light of the issue. Finland did not consider the matter serious and therefore did not press the US for answers on these questions,” Mehtonen stated.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman is currently investigating Finland’s involvement in the rendition flights. The Ombudsman has requested statements on the issue from 15 authorities, which are due at the end of February.

Tuomioja disputes Amnesty’s claims that Finland played down the importance of the rendition flights. According to him, the Foreign Ministry did its utmost to investigate the matter.

TUOMAS SAVONEN, MARIANNE HAKALA – STT
NIINA WOOLLEY – HT
LEHTIKUVA / JANNE LAUKKONEN / MARKKU ULANDER

Helsinki Times Information

Editor-in-chief Alexis Kouros Tel: +358 9 689 67 426

Editorial team

James O’Sullivan, Valérie Brun, David Cord, Pilar Díaz, Yannick Ilunga, Victoria Kulyabkina, Eva Peltonen, Anna-Maija Lappi, Annika Rautakoura, Aleksi Teivainen, Mari Storpellinen

Email: info(a)helsinkitimes.fi
Sales and marketing

Bob Graham
Aiman Kaddoura
Ethan Shadabi
Kenneth Martin

Email addresses are
Firstname(a)helsinkitimes.fi

Publisher
Helsinki Times Oy
Vilhonvuorenkatu 11 B
00500 Helsinki
Finland