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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » April 26, 2012
In Brief
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Ex-Spy Chief Charged Over ‘Secret CIA Jail’
April 26, 2012   
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Poland’s former spy chief has been charged with helping to set up a secret jail in Poland where the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) imprisoned terror suspects detained in Afghanistan and other countries in 2002-2003.

Investigators suspect that the Americans flew prisoners to a military airfield in Szymany, northern Poland, transported them to the nearby village of Stare Kiejkuty and locked them up in a villa provided by the Polish authorities. No Polish officials were allowed to enter the property.

Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, former head of Poland’s Intelligence Agency, has been accused of overstepping his powers and breaking international law by unlawfully detaining prisoners of war and subjecting them to corporal punishment. Siemiątkowski has refused to make a statement to prosecutors.

The investigators have also gathered sufficient evidence to bring former prime minister Leszek Miller before the State Tribunal. But for that to happen, parliament would have to approve a special motion, which appears highly unlikely.

In February 2007 a report by a European Parliament committee named Poland as a country which had hosted “at least one secret prison” in 2002-2005 in Szymany. The report said that ten Al-Qaeda members may have been detained at the prison. The European Parliament’s report accused a total of 17 European countries of tolerating unlawful CIA operations on their territory, such as kidnapping and transporting terror suspects. However, the European Parliament failed to find concrete evidence of secret jails in Europe.

Prosecutors in Cracow are investigating whether the Polish authorities allowed secret jails to operate in Poland in 2002 and 2003 and whether any senior Polish officials overstepped their powers by allowing terror suspects to be tortured at CIA detention centers in this country. The proceedings are being conducted behind closed doors.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, two prisoners held at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention camp, claim that they were tortured by the CIA in Poland. In the Polish investigation, both men have the status of “wronged persons” and are represented by Polish lawyers.

Top Polish politicians including ex-president Aleksander Kwaśniewski have repeatedly denied that Poland hosted CIA jails.

Miller, meanwhile, told reporters that “the civilized world is at war. War on terror. Some are on the side of the murderers and others are with the victims. I am with the victims.”
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