Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

MEPs want face-to-face with Cheney and Rumsfeld over torture

The Daily Telegraph - 27 January 2006

By David Rennie in Brussels

DICK Cheney, the American vice-president, and Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, should be called to testify before the European Parliament on allegations of secret CIA prisons and torture of detainees, MEPs said yesterday.

MEPs heading an investigation into the claims vowed to "name and shame'' American and European leaders who declined invitations to appear before them.

The committee was set up by the parliament to examine reports that CIA detainees were held in secret "black sites'' in central and eastern Europe or flown through European Union airports on their way to countries where they may have faced torture.

The panel has four months to complete its work and is backed by the European Commission and some member states but has no legal powers.

Baroness Ludford, a Liberal Democrat MEP and one of its vice-chairmen, acknowledged that the committee could not force anyone to appear. But she said that Mr Cheney, Mr Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, and Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, should all be invited to testify.

Lady Ludford said: "Our only power is political embarrassment with governments that are reluctant to co-operate with us.''

But British Conservatives elected to sit on the committee immediately charged her with "anti-Americanism''.

Charles Tannock, MEP, the Conservative foreign affairs spokesman, said: "We have not even discussed anything substantive yet but the anti-Americans on the committee are already showing their true colours. The idea of Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld coming to testify is breathtakingly naive.''