Lawyers for Rendition Victim Intervene in Polish Investigation of CIA Black Sites

WARSAW—Lawyers cooperating with the Open Society Justice Initiative today filed an application demanding that the Appellate Prosecutor in Warsaw investigate and prosecute the people responsible for Guantanamo prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s transfer, detention, and torture on Polish soil. Al-Nashiri is the first victim of the CIA’s rendition program to pursue legal remedies in Poland.

The prosecutor has been investigating the possible abuse of power by Polish public officials with regard to a CIA black site since 2008. This investigation has not yet led to any charges.

Multiple public sources confirm that al-Nashiri was detained and tortured in a secret CIA site in Poland some time between 2002 and 2006, probably in Stare Kiejkuty in northeast Poland, not far from Szymany airport, which he was flown in and out of by CIA-contracted flights. The application includes motions to examine Polish public officials as well as witnesses abroad. 

“We hope that the prosecutor will heed this call for a serious investigation into al-Nashiri’s ill-treatment on Polish soil,” said Amrit Singh, senior legal officer with the Open Society Justice Initiative. “The quest for accountability for the CIA’s illegal rendition program must continue in Europe, especially as U.S. courts appear to be closing their doors to victims of this program.”

In June 2010, the United States Supreme Court refused to consider the case of rendition victim Maher Arar. Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed on state secrets grounds a case against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing unit that helped transport CIA rendition victims to face torture and incommunicado detention across the world.

Al-Nashiri is represented in Poland by advocate Mikołaj Pietrzak of the Pietrzak & Sidor law office in Warsaw. The application was filed in cooperation with the Open Society Justice Initiative, which also represents CIA rendition victim Khaled El-Masri in litigation against the Macedonian government before the European Court of Human Rights.