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Poland Faces Charges for Complicity in CIA Torture

Trial is first time Europe faces scrutiny for complicity in CIA 'Extraordinary Rendition' program

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

The Szczytno-Szymany airport in Szymany, Poland where investigators say seven CIA planes, five of them carrying prisoners, arrived between 2002 and 2003 before bringing the uncharged suspects to a remote "black site" prison. (Photo: Artur Reszko)In an attempt to "break the conspiracy of silence," European governments were called before a human rights court Tuesday to face charges for their complicity in the process of "extraordinary rendition" and the torture of uncharged individuals undergone at CIA black sites.

Appearing before the European Court of Human Rights, lawyers representing two Guantanamo detainees—48-year-old Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and 42-year-old Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian—accused Poland of human rights abuses for permitting the detention and torture by the CIA of the two men at a prison in a remote region of Poland.

The Associated Press reports:

Both men say they were brought to Poland in December 2002, where they were detained and subjected to harsh questioning in a Polish military installation in Stare Kiejkuty, a village set in a lush area of woods and lakes in the country's remote northeast.

There they were subject to mock executions, waterboarding and other tortures, including being told their families would be arrested and sexually abused, said Amrit Singh, a lawyer representing al-Nashiri.

Al-Nashiri is being held for allegedly orchestrating the al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole in 2000 in the Yemeni port of Aden; Zubaydah has never been charged with a crime.

At the time of their captivity at the site, both Polish former President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former Prime Minister Leszek Miller denied the prison's existence. Former CIA officials told the AP that a prison in Poland operated from December 2002 until the fall of 2003. Human rights groups estimate that a total of eight terror suspects were held in Poland.

"This case is an opportunity to break the conspiracy of silence" said Singh, in regards to the participation of European governments in the CIA's rendition program. "These acts occurred on Polish territory with the acquiescence and connivance of the Polish authorities," she added.

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