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December 03, 2013

European Rights Court Holds Hearing on Secret CIA Prison

by VOA News

The European Court of Human Rights has begun a hearing on whether Poland ignored human rights abuses by allegedly hosting a secret U.S. prison used by the CIA to interrogate terror suspects.

The hearing in Strasbourg centers around two men — Saudi Arabian national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, and Palestinian-born Abu Zubaydah — who say they were brought to a CIA prison near a remote airfield in Poland in 2002.

Lawyers for the men allege that they were detained for several months and subjected to interrogation techniques that amounted to torture.

The two men are now being held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Polish government has previously denied the existence of a CIA prison on its territory, and a Polish investigation into the claims has been underway for five years without conclusion.

Warsaw says it should be allowed to complete that investigation before the case is taken up by the court.

Poland is one of several European countries accused of assisting the United States in the process of so-called "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects.

Last year, the EU court condemned the government of Macedonia for the illegal detention and torture of a German national who was arrested in Macedonia and sent to a CIA prison in Afghanistan in 2003.

Khaled El-Masri was released in 2004 after he says U.S. officials realized he was not involved with terrorism.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.