Secrets of CIA 'ghost flights' to be revealed
Guantánamo detainee's lawyers hail
• Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
• The Observer, Sunday 26 July 2009
Confidential documents showing the flight plans of a CIA "ghost plane" allegedly used to transfer a British resident to secret interrogation sites around the world are to be made public. The move comes after a Sussex-based company accused of involvement in extraordinary rendition dropped its opposition to a case against it being heard in court.
Lawyers bringing the case against Jeppesen UK on behalf of the former Guantánamo Bay detainee, Binyam Mohamed, claimed last night the climbdown had wide-ranging legal implications that could help expose which countries and governments knew the CIA was using their air bases to spirit terrorist suspects around the world.
Jeppesen UK, a division of the Jeppesen Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing, is alleged to have provided a range of services that allowed planes owned by shell companies operating on behalf of the CIA to fly suspected terrorists to "black sites" .
Jeppesen is alleged to have provided flight planning services, secured permits for travel, arranged fuel provision and filed flight plans for the clients in the knowledge that the planes were being used for extraordinary rendition.
"Jeppesen's embarrassing U-turn vindicates our fight to expose corporate collusion in torture," said Clive
According to an affidavit signed by a former employee, Jeppesen's managing director, Bob Overby, told his staff that "we do all the extraordinary rendition flights". Sean Belcher, a former technical writer for the company, said Overby claimed that the CIA "spared no expense" when it came to paying for Jeppesen's services.
Jeppesen contends there is "no basis" to the claims against it. But after Mohamed's
In a letter to Mohamed's lawyers, Jeppesen's legal representatives, Allen & Overy, state: "Our client... has undertaken an extensive review of information in order to address and rebut your client's evidence. During the course of this exercise it has become apparent that due to the scope and diffuse nature of the evidence... there is a real risk that the hearing of our client's application will descend into a 'mini-trial'... In these circumstances, we consider that the most appropriate and proportionate course is for our client to withdraw its application and for the claim to proceed to trial in the normal way."
A separate case is being pursued against Jeppesen in the
"We want to know whether Jeppesen
Mohamed, an Ethiopian who lived in Britain, was arrested in 2002 in
Reprieve's renditions investigator, Clara Gutteridge, said the CIA could not have acted alone and the case would raise questions over which governments were complicit in extraordinary rendition.
Jeppesen did not return calls.
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 00.01 BST on Sunday 26 July 2009. It appeared in the Observer on Sunday 26 July 2009 on p19 of the News section. It was last updated at 00.03 BST on Sunday 26 July 2009.
• guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
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