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Report details alleged CIA stopovers in Helsinki

The US human rights organisation Open Society Foundations has published details of alleged secret CIA flights that operated via Finland, along with more than 50 other countries.

Helsinki-Vantaan lentokenttä
Helsinki Airport is located in Vantaa, 20km north of the capital. Image: Yle Uutiset

The Open Society Foundations published a 216-page report on Tuesday probing the Central Intelligence Agency's so-called 'extraordinary rendition' flights. They carried terror suspects for interrogation at secret prisons known as 'black sites', including one in Lithuania.

A section of the report is devoted to Finland. Sweden, Denmark and Iceland are also mentioned, but not Norway.

The report claims that Finland allowed some 150 such flights to stop off in Helsinki. However all but one were categorised as 'civilian'. It notes that Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja sought explanations of the flights from the US but was disappointed by the vague response provided.

Finnish report out soon

Last November, the Parliamentary Ombudsman's Office demanded statements from that any Finnish officials who may have information about such flights. It is expected to issue a report on the issue by the end of February.

The report, Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition, was released just as President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next CIA director, John Brennan, faces Senate confirmation hearings.

The report focuses mainly on CIA operations after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. It says its information is based on "credible public sources" and "reputable human rights organizations." The CIA has declined comment on the report.

The Open Society Institute was set up 20 years ago by George Soros, a Hungarian-American billionaire investor.

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