ECHR urged to review claims of CIA secret prison in Romania

[JURIST] The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website] announced [press release] Monday that it urged [application, PDF] the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] to review allegations that Romania was involved in the torture and other ill-treatment of a Saudi Arabian currently facing a death penalty trial before a US military commission at Guantanamo Bay. The application alleges that USS Cole bombing suspect Abd al-Rahim Nashiri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] was subject to torture and mistreatment while in the secret CIA detention facility "Bright Light" located in Romania's capital. The OSJI accused Romania of helping the CIA by enabling al-Nashiri's detention on its soil where he was subject to mistreatment and allowing his transfer out of the country leaving him vulnerable to additional mistreatment and a possible death penalty. He had been transferred to the facility around June 2003 from an unknown location by the CIA and detained sometime between June 2003 and September 2006. The OSJI also alleges that al-Nashiri will not be provided a fair trial because the military commission system is below international fair trial standards.

Allegations related to the secret prisons [JURIST news archive] operated by the CIA have been made in the past. In December the Associated Press (AP) [media website] alleged [JURIST report] that the CIA operated a secret prison outside of Bucharest. In a joint investigation, the AP and the German public television company, ARD Panorama [media website, in German], have uncovered the site revealing that it was one of the CIA's secret prison network operated by the CIA overseas to house and interrogate terrorists. Romania is not the only country accused of harboring a CIA secret prison. In 2009 the Lithuanian Parliament [official website, in Lithuanian] National Security Committee reported [JURIST report] that the CIA had established two secret prisons for al Qaeda suspects in the country. Two years earlier the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) [official website] found [JURIST report] that the CIA established and operated secret prisons in Romania and Poland between 2002 and 2005.

 

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