9 December 2013
Poland before the ECtHR for allowing CIA torture within its territory
The lawyers for two Guantánamo Bay detainees claimed before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that the detainees were tortured in a secret ‘black site’ in Poland. Poland has been brought before the ECtHR for allowing US officials to use ‘enhanced’ interrogations and ‘waterboarding’ technics within its territory. Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism argued before the Court, where ‘systematic human rights violations are alleged to have occurred, the right to know the truth is not only an individual right that belongs to the immediate victim of the violation, but also a collective rights that belongs to the whole of society.’
The detainees, who were suspected of being involved in terrorist activities, allege they were captured by the CIA and transferred to the secret detention in Poland, with the knowledge of the Polish authorities, where they were interrogated and tortured. One of the detainees claims he was then secretly transferred, with the help of Polish officials, to Morocco and then to Guantánamo Bay. Amrit Singh, who represented the detainee, said ‘the court heard expert testimony confirming how Polish officials filed false flight plans and assisted in the cover-up of CIA operations.’ The lawyer for the other detainee, Pádraig Hughes, stated during the hearing ‘we hope that the court’s ruling will make it clear that the actions by the Polish authorities were a clear violation of human rights and should never be repeated by any country that properly respects human rights and the rule of law.’ Cases against Romania and Lithuania are also pending before the ECtHR for hosting secret CIA prisons.