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

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].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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