The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States operated a secret jail in Poland, once again throwing America’s worldwide al Qaeda detention program into the spotlight. The ruling reached on Thursday has triggered fresh calls for US officials to come clean about its activities with regard to the detaining and interrogating of suspected al Qaeda agents.
Official confirmed some time ago that a scheme by the name of “extraordinary rendition” incorporated an international detention policy, though has so far failed to reveal any information as to where its facilities for holding suspects were located in overseas territories. However, the US is facing greater pressure than ever before to remove the cloak from the project, which is likely to slip considerably when a U.S. Senate committee finally lifts the lid on a previously classified extraordinary rendition report.
Speaking on behalf of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Amrit Singh insisted that the ruling of the European Courts proves categorically that there was a US-run detention facility in operation within Polish territory.
“It’s an historic ruling,” she said in an interview with Reuters.
“It’s time for them to own up to the truth.”
Two men brought the case before the European Court of Human Rights, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah who are both of Saudi origin. They claimed that they had been taken by the CIA to a secret jail in Poland, where they were treated in a manner that could only be described as torturous. They spoke of a secret facility deep in the Polish forests and uniquely isolated from the outside world.
Both men are now in Guantanamo Bay, though decided to bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights to accuse Poland of failing to protection them, failing to prevent torture being carried out and failing to bring those responsible to justice. The ruling by the courts related to the way in which the European Convention on Human Rights outlaws torture and guarantees to right to both freedom and justice – all of which were apparently violated by Poland.
Zubaydah was awarded 130,000 Euros in damages and al-Nashiri will be paid 100,000 Euros by the Polish government.
The court’s ruling has thrown Poland into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The government had long denied any knowledge of a secret CIA prison in the country and could see its close ties with US security services frayed as a result of the case. Speaking on behalf of the Polish foreign ministry, Marcin Wojciechowski insisted that the ruling was being carefully analyzed by the government and no official response or comment will be released until the process is complete.
A number of other European nations are suspected to have housed secret CIA holding and interrogation facilities over recent years, including Lithuania and Romania. It’s now possible that the landmark ruling will be influential in similar cases brought before the European courts.