The status gives credence to allegations by Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi
citizen suspected by the US of involvement in the bombing of the warship USS
Cole in 2000, that he was held at an airfield in Poland
and subjected to harsh interrogation tactics, including being threatened
with an electric drill, by American intelligence officers in 2002.
"Granting 'victim status' means that the prosecutor's office is, to a
great extent, convinced of the argumentation that he was rendered and held
illegally on the territory of Poland," said Adam Bodnar from the
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
The legal move, which allows Mr Al-Nashiri 's lawyers to view evidence and
appeal against decisions, comes as part of a two-year investigation by
Polish prosecutors into whether the CIA operated a clandestine camp in
Poland as part of its anti-terrorism operations.
Poland's former leaders have always denied the existence of a so-called
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Aleksander Kwasniewski, Polish president in 2002, said "that there were
no prisons" although he conceded that US flights had landed at Szymany
Airport, the suspected location of the camp, in north-east Poland.
Despite the denial, there is mounting evidence that the US operated a secret
base in Poland from December 2002 to the autumn of 2003, and that detainees
were subject to torture.
Last month a declassified report by the Inspector General of the CIA revealed
that an agent code-named "Albert" used techniques unauthorised by
the US justice department on Mr Al-Nashiri in Poland.