European court condemns Poland for hosting secret CIA prisons
July 24, 2014
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France ruled Thursday that Poland violated the European human rights convention by allowing the CIA to render two alleged terrorists on its territory.
The court held that Poland had co-operated with the secret illegal transfers in 2002-2003, allowing two alleged members of al-Qaeda, a Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and a Palestinian Abu Zubaydah, to be interrogated at a secret "black site" prison on Polish soil.
The judges said that Poland failed to stop the "torture and inhuman or degrading treatment" to which the applicants had been subjected by the CIA during their detention in Poland.
The case was filed by Zubaydah and al-Nashiri, who complained to the court that they had been taken to a secret CIA “black site” in Stare Kiejkuty, northern Poland and subjected to treatment which amounted to torture. Nashiri was held there for six months and Abu Zubaydah for nine. They were later taken to Guantanamo Bay, where they remain.
The court ruled that “by enabling the CIA to transfer the applicants to its other secret detention facilities, the Polish authorities exposed them to a foreseeable serious risk of further ill-treatment and conditions of detention in breach of Article Three [prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment]."
The court also said that Poland had failed to conduct an effective and thorough investigation into the matter.
It ordered Poland to pay al-Nashiri EUR 100,000 in damages and EUR 130,000 to Zubaydah.
Amrit Singh, a lawyer at the Open Society Justice Initiative who represented al-Nashiri before the court said the court’s ruling established beyond reasonable doubt that Poland-hosted a secret jail run by the U.S. government.
"This is a historic ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which has become the first court to confirm the existence of a secret CIA torture center on Polish soil between 2002 and 2003, where our client Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was held and tortured," Singh said
Marcin Wojciechowski, a spokesman for the Polish foreign ministry, said in a Twitter post officials were analyzing the 400-page ruling and only after that will make a public comment
Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski called the judgment "embarrassing" to Poland, and damaging to its image.
Polish officials have previously denied the existence of a CIA prison on its territory. Knowledge of the CIA black site was first revealed by Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, the former head of Poland’s intelligence secret service, in April 2012. Siemiatkowski said he had been tasked with establishing a secret prison for the CIA in a remote part of the country.