North Carolina could reserve its state’s rights, exercising its own legal means to prosecute any crimes involved, such as kidnapping

Jay Price
McClatchy Newspapers
January 23, 2012

SMITHFIELD, N.C. — With fresh ammunition from a University of North Carolina law school report, activists renewed their call Thursday for state officials to take legal action against Aero Contractors Ltd.

For years the Johnston County, N.C., air transport company, which has links to the CIA, has been accused of being a taxi service for paramilitary teams that pick up terrorism suspects in one country and fly them to another where it’s easier to interrogate and, perhaps, torture them. The process is known as extraordinary rendition.

Law professor Deborah M. Weissman and members of the protest group North Carolina Stop Torture Now gave copies of their report to representatives of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and Gov. Bev. Perdue on Thursday morning, then released it during a news conference at the Johnston County Airport, where Aero is based.

The report does not accuse Aero employees of engaging directly in torture. Still, they are accountable for aiding and abetting violations of human rights that are protected under various international treaties and federal laws, Weissman said.

Because the U.S. government has signed those treaties, each state is legally obligated to uphold them, she said.

Also, according to a federal report to the United Nations, the state could prosecute any straightforward crimes involved, such as aggravated assault and kidnapping, even if they took place elsewhere, she said.

Several Aero officers listed in state corporation records either could not be reached or did not return calls Thursday. A woman who answered the company’s phone said no one there would speak to a reporter.

Read full report here

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