21 July 2005

Human Rights Commission to probe CIA agreement


21/07/2005 - 09:48:17

The Irish Human Rights Commission is to examine an agreement which will allow CIA agents to secretly question Irish citizens on Irish soil, it emerged today.

The bilateral instruments, signed by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and the US Ambassador to Ireland James C Kenny last week, provide for sweeping powers to be given to the US authorities on request, including the right to seize documents, check bank accounts and carry out searches of property.

The Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said it would be examining the agreement, which was drawn up to assist the US “war on terror” in the wake of September 11.

“When we establish the facts, we will be looking to see if there are any implications for breaches of human rights,” said president Dr Maurice Manning.

He said that one of the IHRC’s functions was to examine any proposed legislation for breaches of human rights.

Mr McDowell has said that legislation will be required to give effect to some elements of the bilateral instruments on “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters”.

The instruments, which were published on the Department of Justice’s website last week, clearly state that the requested party (Ireland) shall allow American representatives (such as CIA agents) to sit in on interviews of suspects arrested on Irish soil and ask questions.

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