Britain yesterday asked the United States to respond to media reports that the CIA is running secret jails in Eastern Europe and covertly flying prisoners through airports in the European Union. Foreign Minister Jack Straw wrote to Washington on behalf of the EU on Tuesday amid growing concern in Europe about the reports. His letter raised media allegations of CIA terror camps in Eastern Europe as well as the question of flights, a foreign office spokeswoman said. The Washington Post reported the existence of the jails earlier this month. U.S.-based campaign group Human Rights Watch named Poland and Romania as the most likely locations, a claim both countries deny. The United States has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of secret jails. Europe's leading human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, is investigating the allegations and has asked all European governments to respond to it by February. It is also probing flights by 31 aircraft which it suspects may have been used by the CIA to deliver terrorism suspects secretly to countries where they may have been tortured - a practice known as extraordinary rendition. At least eight European governments have raised concerns with the United States about the flights. British human rights group Liberty said on Wednesday it was worried that some CIA flights had passed through British airports and airbases, secretly carrying prisoners.
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