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European Court Rules Poland Complicit In CIA Rendition Of Terrorism Suspects

The European Court of Human Rights has found Poland complicit in the US Government's rendition, secret detention, and torture of alleged terrorism suspects.

The court was ruling on complaints filed by two alleged members of al-Qaeda that they were subjected to torture by the CIA during their detention in Poland

In a landmark judgment handed down on Thursday, the Court ruled that the Polish government colluded with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to establish a secret prison at Stare Kiejkuty, which operated between 2002 and 2005. At the site, 180 km north of Warsaw, detainees were held in secret detention and tortured.

The two claimants lodged their cases with the European Court in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Both men are currently detained at the US Navy's Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

The first is Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national alleged to have masterminded the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000. He has claimed that he was questioned in a secret facility in Poland and subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques" and other human rights violations, such as "mock execution" with a gun and threats of sexual assault against his family members.

The second, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, a stateless Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia, is also believed to have been held in Poland, where he says he was subjected to extreme physical pain and psychological suffering. Former US President George W. Bush asserted in his 2010 memoirs that he authorized the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques", including "waterboarding" - mock drowning - against Abu Zubaydah in secret CIA detention.

The Court found that Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights for, among other things, the lack of an investigation into the men's claims; their torture and other ill-treatment, secret detention, and transferred to other places where they were at risk of further human rights violations including torture and other ill-treatment. The Court also reaffirmed the victims' and the public's right to truth.

Al-Nashiri faces a capital trial by military commission in Guantánamo. The US authorities have yet to charge Abu Zubaydah with any crime, more than 12 years after taking him into detention.

Poland has been in the spotlight since 2005, when it was first identified as having hosted a secret CIA detention facility.

"Poland colluded with the CIA and helped the USA torture and subject these men to enforced disappearance. The Polish authorities must now conduct the effective investigation it has been stalling on and obstructing for all these years," said Julia Hall, Amnesty International's expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

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