Accused USS Cole bomber sues Poland over secret CIA prison site

[JURIST] Lawyers for accused USS Cole [JURIST news archive] bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile] said Tuesday that they have filed suit [press release; case materials] against Poland in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] over his alleged torture at a secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] in the country. Last month, the US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] announced that al-Nashiri would be tried in a military court and would be subject to capital charges [JURIST report]. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website] is asking the ECHR to intervene and direct Poland to "use all available means at its disposal to ensure that the United States does not subject him to the death penalty," arguing that Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. The OSJI has also asked the court to direct Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland to intervene.

In March, Polish prosecutors investigating the alleged secret CIA prison announced that they were asking US officials to question al-Nashiri and a second Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee who claims he was held and abused at the site. The OSJI, which helped to launch the abuse investigation [JURIST report] last September, urged the US to provide assistance. The investigation into al-Nashiri's allegations of the secret prison's existence and his abuse there began soon after former Polish prime minister Leszek Miller denied any knowledge of a secret CIA prison [JURIST report] in Poland. His denial followed confirmation by a former CIA agent that the agency tortured [Spiegel report] al-Nashiri in 2002 at a secret prison located in Poland. According to the agent, al-Nashiri was stripped naked and hooded before a gun and a drill were held close to his head. Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski has also denied the existence of the prisons. Both he and Miller maintain that they will not discuss the allegations of torture until the completion of an investigation into Poland's role in the US prisoner rendition [JURIST news archive] program. The original investigation into the existence of the CIA-operated prison was launched by the Polish government [JURIST report] in September 2008.

 

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