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WARSAW | A human rights organization and attorneys for a Saudi man accused in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole demanded this week that Polish prosecutors investigate the terrorism suspect’s detention and treatment at a CIA prison once housed in Poland.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is the first detainee subjected to the CIA’s detention and interrogation program who has taken legal action in Poland, said Amrit Singh, a senior legal officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative.
The legal move in Poland could spawn similar efforts in Romania and Lithuania, which former U.S. intelligence officials and critics have identified as nations that hosted some of the CIA’s so-called “black sites.”
Public outcry against the abandoned CIA program remains strong in Europe, while attorneys for detainees and civil-liberties activists have had limited success in U.S. courts in shedding new light on the secret prisons.
“We hope that the prosecutor will heed this call for a serious investigation into al-Nashiri’s ill-treatment on Polish soil,” Mr. Singh said. “The quest for accountability for the CIA’s illegal rendition program must continue in Europe, especially as U.S. courts appear to be closing their doors to victims of this program.”
Polish prosecutors already have been examining the country’s involvement in a now-shuttered U.S. system of secret prisons around the globe. Inside the black sites, terrorism detainees were said to have been exposed to harsh interrogation methods, such as the simulated drowning technique of waterboarding — a practice that critics have characterized as “torture.”
“It does not require the opening of a separate investigation,” he said, adding that he still had to study the documents.
Flight logs trace several landings of planes linked to the CIA there. Prosecutors have been looking into the site since 2008, but have not yet filed charges.
Following the AP’s report earlier this month on Mr. al-Nashiri’s treatment, Leszek Miller, Poland’s prime minister at the time, flatly denied the existence of any such facility, saying there were “no secret CIA prisons in Poland.”
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