EU Court: Poland Hosted Secret CIA Torture Facility

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
EU Court: Poland Hosted Secret CIA Torture Facility

The European Court of Human Rights found Poland guilty of hosting a secret CIA torture prison during the George W. Bush administration.

On Thursday, July 24, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Poland guilty of the unlawful detention and torture of two people committed at a secret CIA prison located in that country.

The Guardian reports on how the case arrived at the ECHR:

The case against Poland was brought by two men, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, a Saudi-born Palestinian known as Abu Zubaydah, and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Abu Zubaydah was initially detained in Pakistan in 2002 and accused of being a senior al-Qaida figure, although there has since been some doubt over the role he may have played. He was flown to Poland from a CIA prison in Thailand in December 2002, remaining there until September the following year.

Nashiri is accused of masterminding the October 2000 suicide bomb attack against the USS Cole, in which 17 people died, and is facing prosecution before a military commission. He was flown to Poland on the same executive jet as Abu Zubaydah, and transferred to Morocco the following June.

In a harshly worded judgment, the court found that Warsaw failed to follow up on the complaints and it fined the Polish government €100,000 per complainant, both of whom are currently being held (in violation of due process) at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay.

According to the Guardian report, there are a “series of cases” pending against two other European nations: Lithuania and Romania. All these complaints allege the governments of these countries permitted the CIA to maintain secret “black site” prisons within their borders in defiance of European and international law.

"Black sites" is the name given to the officially unconfirmed network of secret prisons located throughout the world used by the CIA to imprison and interrogate individuals suspected of committing or conspiring to commit terrorist activities. 

These facilities are built outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government and thus are not subject to American laws against torture.

Persons accused by the U.S. government of being "enemy combatants" were captured and subjected to "extraordinary rendition" and then shipped off to one of the prisons for questioning, where the detainees were often reportedly subjected to inhuman tactics to illicit responses from them.

Regarding the alleged Romanian prison, the Associated Press teamed with German investigative reporters from the public television network ARD and the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in conducting an investigation that purportedly discovered the secret torture facility.

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