Poland: prosecutors grant Gitmo detainee victim status

Prosecutors investigating the secret CIA prison in Poland on Oct. 27 gave Saudi terror suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri 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, was tortured by the agency at the secret prison in Poland. Granting al-Nashiri victim status will grant the detainee more rights and allow his lawyers to participate in the proceedings.

Al-Nashiri remains a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, despite an announcement last month by the Obama administration that charges against him are not pending or being considered. The Pentagon formally dropped charges against al-Nashiri in February 2009, effectively ending his prosecution under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Last month, Polish prosecutors opened an investigation into the alleged mistreatment of al-Nashiri in response to the request filed by human rights group Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and al-Nashiri’s lawyers. OSJI stated that the filing represents the first attempt by an extraordinary rendition 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 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 to the Council of Europe 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 for their roles in the program. Several nations have been accused of obstructing European probes into the secret prison allegations, including Poland, which allegedly housed the largest CIA detention facility in Europe.

From Jurist, Oct. 27. Used with permission.