CIA ran secret torture jail in Poland, rules European Court of Human Rights

A protestor in Washington in 2012 calling for the release of Abu Zubaydah, who won his case against Poland yesterday. January 2012. [Justin Norman/Flickr]

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday (24 July) that the CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, a judgment that adds to pressure on the United States and its allies to reveal the truth about the global programme for detaining al Qaeda suspects.

The United States has acknowledged the existence of its "extraordinary rendition" scheme in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks but has never revealed which of its allies hosted the secret detention facilities.

It is becoming harder to maintain that silence, especially after Thursday's ruling by the Strasbourg-based court, which comes as a US Senate committee prepares to publish parts of a critical classified report about extraordinary rendition.

The court case was brought by two men, Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah, and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who alleged they were flown in secret to a CIA-run jail in a Polish forest and subjected to treatment that amounted to torture.

The two men, who are now in Guantanamo Bay, the US military prison on Cuba, brought the case against Poland for failing to prevent their illegal detention and torture and for failing to prosecute those responsible.

The Strasbourg-based court ruled that Poland had violated Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that cover torture, the right to liberty, and the right to an effective remedy for victims of crime.

It ordered Poland to pay al-Nashiri €100,000 in damages and €130,000 to Zubaydah. The court ruling did not cover the United States, which is outside its jurisdiction.

Thursday's decision puts the Polish government in an awkward position. It has a close security relationship with the United States and Polish officials have always denied the existence of any CIA jail on their territory.

The ruling is embarrassing for Poland and is a burden for the country's image, a Polish presidential spokeswoman said on Thursday.

"The ruling of the tribunal in Strasbourg on CIA jails is embarrassing for Poland and is a burden both in terms of our country's finances as well as its image," Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek said.

She said there is still a possibility for Poland to appeal the verdict.

The ruling may also have implications for other European states alleged to have hosted CIA prisons; similar cases have been lodged with the court in Strasbourg against Romania and Lithuania.



an european's picture

It's obviously that the Dirty U.S. Government and Master Obama want their DIRTY secret torture Act on their own continent to be free !
Now Poland is the an U.S. torture box in the European Union !
It's blatantly how the U.S. tries their home-states to be clean but at the end they get " their own made DIRTY results" back!

Our European Justice Court took the very right decisions !!

Lech's picture

It seems, The European Court has made a big mistake on this verdict. It goes without saying
the place in Poland was leased to CIA. When you lease the place to someone, any domage and/or unproper behaviour is the responsiblity of the tenant. I remember well, at that time, nearly whole World expressed
sorrow and also symphaty towards Americans after terrorist attack on their WTC in New York. They have
received support from many countries worldwide!
To address this kind of verdict it has to be established and proved by the Court, that Poland and/or any
official from that country, knew of the tortures, and took active part in committing any of these crimes.
The verdict can't be upheld. First it has to be addressed to US Government through UN and Human
Rights Watch Organizations. It is easier to blame smaller country, than to challenge USA, who doesn't respect
any judgment, any rights, and this verdict, sooner or later (if received), may land in Washington wastebasket.

Jay's picture

People of the world are factually correct when they label the United States the greatest threat to peace in the world. A recent global poll reveals 24% thought the US was the greater threat. Only 2% see Russia as such a threat, and 6% see China.

The US Empire is the largest in world history with more than 1,100 military bases and outposts around the world.

Here is the condensed version of US Empire activity as chronicled by renown historian William Blum.

*Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
*Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
*Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
*Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
*Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

This is the country Europe endorses like it was the Holy Grail it's self.