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European Court exposes illegal detention facilities linked to CIA's extraordinary rendition program in Poland

[JURIST] The European Court of Human Rights [official website] handed down two rulings [judgments, PDF] finding the Polish government in violation of European human rights laws based on the establishment of prison center used for illegal detainment and torture of terrorist suspects. Amnesty International (AI) [official website] on Thursday reported [AI report] that the secret prison was established by the Polish Government in an effort to contribute to the US Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) [official website] extraordinary rendition program [JURIST news archive]. The secret prison was located near Warsaw and claimed to be operated from 2002 to 2005. Information about the illegal detention facility was exposed by two current Guantanamo detainees who filed claims with the European Court in both 2011 and 2013. The two men claim they were illegally detained, ill-treated and tortured within the Polish prison facility. AI's Julia Hall stated in regards to the two rulings:

"Today's historic rulings finally unlock the truth about a dark period of Poland's recent history and mark a milestone against impunity. Poland knowingly became part of the USA's illegal network of black sites that was used to secretly detain and torture individuals rounded up in counter-terrorism operations."

In its report, AI urged for a continued investigation into the Polish detention facility and other possible CIA backed facilities throughout Europe.

Controversy continues to surround CIA programs, which allegedly involved torture against detainees. In October 2013 the lawyer for five Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] prisoners charged with plotting the 9/11 attacks asked [JURIST report] Obama in an open letter to declassify the CIA interrogation program that allegedly subjected prisoners to torture. The letter argued that the continued classification of this program is suppressing important evidence related to the case. In 2009 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] released [JURIST report] four top secret memos from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [official website] outlining controversial CIA interrogation techniques and their legal rationale. The previously undisclosed memos were released with redactions in response to the FOIA lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) during the Bush administration. The ACLU also called for an independent investigator to probe allegations of torture during the Bush administration, but Obama said [statement] that, "[i]n releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution."

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