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Poland prosecutors ask US to question Guantanamo detainees over secret CIA prison

Polish prosecutors investigating an alleged secret CIA prison [JURIST news archive] announced Monday that they are asking US officials to question two Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees who claim they were held and abused at the site. The lawyers submitted their request [AP report], which includes a list of questions they would like the Guantanamo detainees to answer regarding their experiences, earlier this month. Both Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile], who is accused of bombing the USS Cole, maintain that they were detained and abused at the site, and the prosecutors believe their testimony is necessary in order to determine whether it actually exists. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website], a human rights group that helped to launch the abuse investigation [JURIST report] last September, has urged the US to provide assistance. Executive Director of OSJI, James Goldston, stated [press release] that, "[t]he United States government should swiftly respond to the Polish prosecutor's requests for information on CIA black sites. The allegations of human rights abuses associated with the CIA's illegal rendition program must be properly investigated to secure justice for the victims and prevent future misconduct." The prosecutor's request did not stipulate a deadline for response from the US.

The investigation into al-Nashiri's allegations of the secret prison's existence and his abuse there began soon after former Polish prime minister Leszek Miller denied any knowledge of a secret CIA prison [JURIST report] in Poland. His denial followed confirmation by a former CIA agent that the agency tortured [Spiegel report] al-Nashiri in 2002 at a secret prison located 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. In addition to denying the existence of the prisons, Miller also stated that he believes claims of the prisons will jeopardize the safety of Polish citizens and members of the military currently serving in Afghanistan. Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski has also denied the existence of the prisons. Both he and Miller maintain that they will not discuss the allegations of torture until the completion of an investigation into Poland's role in the US prisoner rendition [JURIST news archive] program. The original investigation into the existence of the CIA-operated prison was launched by the Polish government [JURIST report] in September 2008.

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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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