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Over Norway to Guantanamo

Ten prisoners can be placed in Norwegian airspace on their way to the Guantanamo camp in Cuba.


[Prisoner transport] An American aircraft with the symbol "N88ZL" had, according to Ny Tid's experience, ten prisoners on their way to Guantanamo on board when it passed through Norwegian airspace early in the morning of 21 September 2004. Norwegian authorities claim they have not received information about the prisoner transport in question.

The information about the prisoner transport can be found in a press release from the US Department of Defense on September 22, which states that ten prisoners were flown from Afghanistan to Guantanamo.

Only "N88ZL" can be directly linked to both Guantanamo and Bagram in the days and the week before September 22.

The venerable Boeing 707 machine departed from Washington Dulles Airport early in the morning of September 19, 2004. The aircraft headed for Guantanamo Base before continuing to Gander Newfoundland Airport in Canada in the afternoon. Then went to Bagram airport in Afghanistan. Included in the plane were probably eleven Guantanamo prisoners to be released.

On the morning of September 20, the plane headed for Vanda Airport outside Helsinki, Finland, before leaving four minutes past five in the morning and departing west again. According to Avinor, the plane entered Norwegian airspace just after six o'clock on September 21. It headed for Washington and continued to Miami. The press release from the US Department of Defense confirms that there was talk of a prisoner transport with Guantanamo as the target during this period.

This is the first time that a specific illegal transport of so-called terrorist prisoners can be linked to an overflight in Norwegian territory. Such overflights were last mentioned in Ny Tid on 27 January 2006.

American secret prisoner transports violate international laws, claims both Amnesty International, the Council of Europe and the Norwegian government. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs today confirms their statement from January that they have not cleared such a flight. If necessary, they will take up the matter again with the United States. The US Embassy says they have no further information on this aircraft.

The Council of Europe commissioned a report on the secret CIA aircraft and possible secret CIA prisons in Europe on Wednesday 7 June. It appears that at least 14 European countries have cooperated with the CIA in these cases. The report mentions Norway as one of the countries that has contributed to the CIA's intelligence, but Norway is not among the countries that are directly linked to prisoner transport.

Requires review

[serious] Deputy Head of Amnesty International Norway, John Peder Egenæs, says they look at flights as serious as if the plane had landed at a Norwegian airport. Either the Norwegian authorities have done too poor a job when investigating the suspicions of CIA aircraft, or they have not been interested in getting everything on the table, Egenæs believes.

- I hope that this is the first thing that is the case, and that the government now gets a proper review started, says John Peder Egenæs. n

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