PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro - The US military on Saturday denied that it was running a Guantanamo-style prison for terror suspects in Kosovo, as tensions continued to simmer over reports of secret CIA flights across Europe.
“There are no secret detention facilities located on Camp Bondsteel (eastern Kosovo),” Major Michael Wunn, US military spokesman in Kosovo, told AFP in reference to the US base as part of NATO forces in the Balkan province.
Major Wunn said it was “common knowledge” that Camp Bondsteel included a detention facility used to house people detained during NATO peacekeeping operations in the UN-administered southern Serbian province.
But he said it was currently empty and it was not used as a secret prison by the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The facility is operated by US Military Police Soldiers fully trained in Detention Center Operations. Currently, no one is detained in this facility,” he said.
“The facility is subject to inspection by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and is regularly inspected by the United States Army, Europe.”
The denial came as Washington felt mounting European pressure to reveal the routes and activities of its CIA prisoner flights amid concerns about human rights abuses and torture on European territory.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Spanish radio on Saturday that Europeans found any suggestion of torture ”intolerable” and insisted that such reports be investigated.
“I have no doubt that this will be the object of an investigation... It must be investigated and those responsible must pay,” he told Cadena Ser radio.
Meanwhile Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed that a CIA plane had “put down” at the Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul last week in order to refuel.
“There was a landing requested for technical reasons. It’s landing was authorised. It was not carrying any passengers -- only equipment was on board,” the minister was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
“It filled its tanks with fuel and continued in its way,” he said, adding that when planes requested landings to refuel it was difficult to refuse them.