EU lawmakers urge US not to seek death penalty in USS Cole trial

[JURIST] The European Parliament (EP) [official website] on Thursday urged the US not to seek the death penalty [press release] for high-value Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [JURIST news archive], accused planning the USS Cole [JURIST news archive] bombing in 2000. The US Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] announced in April that al-Nashiri would be tried in a military court and would be subject to capital charges [JURIST report]. The EP emphasized in a resolution [materials] the importance of the parliament's relationship with the US and restated its opposition to the use of torture, ill-treatment and the death penalty under all circumstances, reiterating that the "abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights." The resolution also noted that al-Nashiri alleged he was held and tortured in a secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] in Poland.

In May, lawyers for al-Nashiri said that they have filed suit [press release; case materials; JURIST report] against Poland in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] over his alleged torture at the Polish CIA prison. In March, Polish prosecutors investigating the alleged prison announced that they were asking US officials to question al-Nashiri [JURIST report] and a second Guantanamo Bay detainee who claims he was held and abused at the site. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website], 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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