Polish prosecutors investigating the secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] in Poland on Wednesday gave Saudi terror suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile, JURIST news archive] victim status, recognizing the validity of his claims that he was mistreated by interrogators. According to ex-CIA officials, al-Nashiri, accused of bombing the USS Cole [JURIST news archive], was tortured by the agency at the secret prison in Poland. Elevating al-Nashiri to victim status will grant the detainee more rights and allow his lawyers to participate in the proceedings. Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] Jameel Jaffer called for the US to hold top officials accountable for torture [press release], saying:
Holding torturers accountable is essential to restoring American credibility at home and abroad - the U.S. can no longer remain silent as, one by one, other nations begin to reckon with their own agents' complicity in the torture program through prosecutions and judicial inquiries.Al-Nashiri remains a detainee at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], despite an announcement last month by the Obama administration that charges against him are not pending [JURIST report] or being considered. The Pentagon formally dropped charges [JURIST report] against al-Nashiri in February 2009, effectively ending his prosecution under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 [text, PDF].
Last month, Polish prosecutors opened an investigation into the alleged mistreatment of al-Nashiri in response to the request [JURIST reports] filed by human rights group Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website] and al-Nashiri's lawyers. OSJI stated that the filing represents the first attempt by an extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] victim to pursue a legal remedy within the Polish court system. The commencement of the investigation came one week after former Polish prime minister Leszek Miller denied any knowledge [JURIST report] of a secret CIA prison in Poland and indicated that he would not discuss allegations of torture until the Polish government's investigation is complete. Allegations against Poland came in a June 2007 report [text; JURIST report] to the Council of Europe [official website] by Swiss Senator Dick Marty. The report concluded that numerous European governments had cooperated with the CIA program. In February 2007, the European Parliament condemned more than a dozen European states [JURIST report] for their roles in the program. Several nations have been accused of obstructing European probes into the secret prison allegations, including Poland [JURIST report], which allegedly housed the largest CIA detention facility in Europe [JURIST report].