The European Union's top justice official has issued a warning that any member state found to be hosting a secret CIA jail could lose its voting rights.
An excerpt from the BBC story:
Franco Frattini said the consequences would be “extremely serious” if reports of such prisons turned out to be true.
This comes amid an EU investigation into claims the US secret service ran clandestine jails in eastern Europe.
In the case of Romania, a senior Euro MP has questioned whether its accession to the EU should go ahead as planned.
The US has refused to confirm or deny the reports of secret jails, which surfaced in the US earlier this month.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, the EU Justice Commissioner said he would call for tough penalties against any involved state.
It is very, very important to get the truthFranco Frattini
EU Justice Commissioner
“I would be obliged to propose to the Council [of EU Ministers] serious consequences, including the suspension of voting rights in the council,” he said.
He said a suspension of voting rights would be justified if any country is found to have breached the bloc's founding principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Such a move would be unprecedented.
A diplomatic source said that to suspend a member state's voting rights in the Council of the European Union, the other 25 member states would have to vote unanimously to take such a step, which would be unlikely to happen in practice.
Mr Frattini said the Bush administration had asked for more time to deliver a response to the accusations after a senior commission official formally raised the issue on a visit to Washington last week.
“Right now, there is no [US] response,” he said.