EU opens US 'terror gulag' probe

BRUSSELS - A probe into claims the CIA held al Qaeda terrorists in secret prisons in Europe has been stepped up after 45 countries were sent a formal demand to provide information.

The move coincided with news that Austria's Air Force is probing claims that a US plane containing suspected terrorist captives passed through the neutral country's airspace in 2003.

The original allegations pinpointing two Eastern European nations emerged earlier this month and, under pressure from several European countries, the EU is sending a letter to the US requesting information.

The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, asked 45 member nations to reply by February to his questions.

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