Lawyers for alleged USS Cole bomber request investigation into detention in Poland

Lawyers for alleged USS Cole bomber request investigation into detention in Poland

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[JURIST] A human rights group and lawyers for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile], a Saudi man accused in connection with the 2000 USS Cole attack [JURIST news archive], filed a request [press release] Tuesday with Polish prosecutors for an investigation into al-Nashiri’s detention and treatment at a secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] in Poland. The request asks prosecutors to scrutinize al-Nashiri’s detention and treatment in their investigation [JURIST report] into the allegations of a CIA-operated secret prison in the country and to prosecute those responsible for the acts on Polish soil. Earlier this month, an ex-CIA agent confirmed [Spiegel report] that the agency tortured al-Nashiri in 2002 at a secret prison in Poland. According to the agent, al-Nashiri was stripped naked and hooded before a gun and a drill were held close to his head. Al-Nashiri also alleges that he was waterboarded and threatened with injury and sexual abuse. Amrit Singh, a spokesperson for the human rights group Open Society Justice Initiative [advocacy website], involved in filing the petition, noted that the filing represents the first attempt [press release] by an extraordinary rendition [JURIST news archive] victim to pursue a legal remedy within the Polish court system. A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] stated that the investigation and petition are a reminder that the US government has failed to hold those responsible [press release] for authorizing torture accountable for their actions. 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].

The request for an investigation comes 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 will 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].