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Poland ex-intelligence head faces charges for involvement in secret CIA prison

The former head of the Polish Intelligence Agency may face charges for his assistance of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] in operating a secret prison [JURIST news archive] in Poland. Zbigniew Siemiatkowski told a Polish newspaper on Tuesday that he could face charges for his association with the prison [Gazeta Wyborcza report, in Polish] and the allegations of torture that occurred there. Polish prosecutors began investigating the prison and its activities in September 2010 after a request [JURIST reports] was filed by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) [advocacy website] and the lawyers of alleged torture victim Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri [NYT profile]. In March of last year, prosecutors asked US officials [JURIST report] to question two Guantanamo Bay [JURIST backgrounder] detainees, including al-Nashiri, who claim they were held and abused at the site. 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."

Many government officials have come under fire in recent years for special detention and torture practices. In September the Council of Europe [official website] Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg urged [JURIST report] Lithuania, Poland and Romania to investigate the roles their governments played in the US CIA's program of "secret detention and torture" of terrorism suspects. In June of that year, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced that he would continue investigating the deaths of two detainees [JURIST report] who died during interrogations by the CIA. In February, human rights advocacy groups urged the signatory states of the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) [text] to pursue criminal charges [JURIST report] against former US president George W. Bush [JURIST news archive] in connection with allegations of enhanced interrogation techniques [JURIST news archive]. In January, a federal judge told the CIA that it must investigate the destruction of the interrogation tapes [JURIST report] related to individuals detained after 9/11 [JURIST news archive] and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Advocacy groups have also called for investigations into Bush-era torture practices by the Spanish government [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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