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Europe rights court to hear case against Poland over secret CIA prisons

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] announced Monday that it will hear a case against Poland for allegedly acquiescing to the torture of extradited prisoners by CIA agents. This case, brought by Abu Zubaydah, is the second case in which a detainee has brought charges against a third party country. The first was brought by Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and the two cases will be heard together. Both men were top al-Qaeda suspects [BBC profiles] and are currently detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder]. Zubaydah is represented by Interights [advocacy website], a European-based human rights group which said [press release] that Poland "needs to begin to engage with the detailed allegations against it and to account for its central role in the rendition program." Poland has not released a formal statement on the matter, but did indicate that it will comply with all court procedures.

Lawyers for Zubaydah asked the court [JURIST report] in January to rule on whether Poland violated their client's rights by aiding the US in detaining and allegedly torturing Zubaydah in a secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive]. Zubaydah alleges that he was transferred to Poland and subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. An investigation into the prison has been ongoing [JURIST report] in Poland since 2008, but Zubaydah's lawyers argued that it has made no noticeable effort to bring any perpetrators to justice. Furthermore, the case brought by the accused USS Cole [JURIST news archive] bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri alleges that he has been tortured in a secret CIA prison in Poland. In August the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website] urged the ECHR to review allegations that Romania was involved [JURIST report] in the torture and other ill-treatment of al-Nashiri as well. The application alleged that al-Nashiri was subject to torture and mistreatment while in the secret CIA detention facility "Bright Light" located in Romania's capital.

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