Evidence in a New York court has revealed that the CIA operated illegal rendition flights through Shannon Airport in Co. Clare.
Rendition involved flying terrorist suspects from the U.S. to countries allied to the U.S., where they were often tortured, according to a report in the Irish Examiner.
A dispute between two private jet charter companies ended up in court in New York where the evidence emerged that one of the companies regularly flew suspected terrorist suspects for the CIA through Shannon.
One of the companies in the legal battle, Richmor Aviation, was recorded landing in Shannon on many occasions between 2001 and 2005 in the aftermath of 9/11.
Court documents appear to show that one flight through Shannon was the rendition of the Egyptian cleric Abu Omar to a country in the Middle East where he was tortured.
Another flight was said to contain Abd al Nashiri, the prime suspect in the bombing of the U.S. Navy ship the Cole in Yemen in 2000.
In Ireland, anti-war group Shannonwatch says the new evidence bolsters its belief that it has evidence of 20 suspected rendition flights through Shannon Airport.
"The airport facilities were used repeatedly over the years by private companies engaged in illegal and immoral activities," said a group spokesperson.
"Irish politicians now have to be made accountable for their failure to ensure that Ireland was not complicit in rendition, kidnap and torture."
Amnesty International Ireland also said the Irish government failed in their duty by allowing the CIA flights, and called on the new government to act differently.
"The government has an opportunity to break with the failure of the previous administration to protect Irish airspace and human rights," said the organization’s executive director, Colm O’Gorman.
He called on the government Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions to investigate.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs referred to a speech by Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, in which he said: "Shannon will not be used as a means of rendition, facilitating torture or any other activity which violates human rights."
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