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Europe lawmaker accuses Poland of obstructing CIA prisons probe

[JURIST] A European Parliament lawmaker visiting Poland [JURIST news archive] as a member of a Council of Europe [JURIST news archive] team holding hearings [Polskie Radio report] on that nation's role in the operation of secret CIA prisons [JURIST news archive] complained to journalists Friday about the "reluctance of the government to offer full cooperation to our investigation and to receive our delegation at an appropriate political level." The highest-ranking government official to attend the hearings of a the twelve-member delegation was an aide to the Prime Minister, who lacked the status necessary to answer all the questions presented. Portuguese MEP Carlos Coelho [official website] said he felt "obligated to highlight the difference between the openness and readiness to cooperate we were offered when we went to Romania three weeks ago and what we have experienced during our visit to Poland."

Late last year journalists and rights groups began reporting that the Polish government was not only involved in the CIA program but was running its largest facility [JURIST report]. The Council hearings in Poland, Romania, and other nations are part of a regional investigation into secret prisons run by United States intelligence services and the extent to which they were aided by local governments. In June, investigators released a report implicating Poland, which Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz [official profile] rejected as "libel". The country launched its own investigation in December of 2005, but the probe was dropped within the month [JURIST report] and released no findings. President Bush acknowledged the existence of the secret CIA facilities [JURIST report] in September, but provided no details on their location or operation. Deutsche Welle has more.

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