Portugal’s attorney general is opening a criminal investigation into claims that CIA flights, some of them allegedly carrying terror suspects, made stopovers in the country, the state-owned news agency reported on Monday.
The agency Lusa quoted Deputy Attorney General Candida Almeida as saying the investigation had ‘many leads’ to pursue after a Portuguese deputy at the European Parliament presented a dossier of allegations.
The attorney general’s decision to launch a formal investigation is embarrassing for the government. Last week, Foreign Minister Luis Amado said authorities had not unearthed any evidence of CIA flights and would not investigate the matter further.
Meanwhile, fifty-seven countries have signed a treaty banning secret detention. Guess who refused to sign on.
Representatives from 57 countries on Tuesday signed a long-negotiated treaty prohibiting governments from holding people in secret detention. The United States declined to endorse the document, saying its text did not meet U.S. expectations.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined comment except to say that the United States helped draft the treaty but that the final wording “did not meet our expectations.”
The Associated Press reported that McCormack declined comment on whether the U.S. stance was influenced by the Bush administration’s policy of sending terrorism suspects to CIA-run prisons overseas, which President Bush acknowledged in September.
Some U.S. allies in Europe also declined to join the treaty, among them Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The convention defines forced disappearances as the arrest, detention or kidnapping by state agents or affiliates and subsequent denials about the detention or location of the missing individual.