News / Europe

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

FILE - General view of the plenary room of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Nov. 27, 2013.
FILE - General view of the plenary room of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, Nov. 27, 2013.
VOA News

In a landmark ruling, Europe's top human rights court has found Poland violated the rights of two terrorism suspects by allowing the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to secretly imprison them in the country more than a decade ago.

The European Court of Human Rights says Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights by allowing terrorism suspects Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah to be secretly imprisoned on its territory between 2002 and 2003.  The two are now inmates at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp operated by the U.S. military.

They claim they were captured and then flown to a secret jail run by the Central Intelligence Agency in a Polish forest, where they were tortured and mistreated.

The court, which is based in Strasbourg, France, blames Poland for facilitating the process.  It ordered Warsaw to pay fines to the two men.

The ruling is the first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at so-called CIA black sites - under a program launched by Washington following the September 2011 terrorist attacks.  The United States has acknowledged the program existed, but has not named the countries that cooperated with it.
 
Lawyers for the two suspects and rights groups hailed the ruling.  

"For years and years and years, we have sought accountability for these practices in the USA  - there has been virtually no accountability there," said Amnesty International's terrorism and human rights expert, Julia Hal.  "So, to have a European government, and in fact an EU member state, found responsible is quite a significant step forward."

Poland's Foreign Ministry said its legal experts need to fully examine the ruling before commenting.  But President Bronislaw Komorowski called it "embarrassing."  The court also said Poland's own investigation into the allegations is ineffective.

Rights experts like Hall say the ruling may have implications for Guantanamo Bay trials against terrorism suspects like al-Nashiri.  He is accused of orchestrating an attack on a U.S. warship in 2000 that killed 17 American sailors.

"The fact that the European Court has ruled he was disappeared, he was tortured, and otherwise ill treated - all of that information will be very relevant to the proceedings in Guantanamo in terms of mitigating the death penalty, which is really the ultimate human rights violation as far as Amnesty International is concerned," she said.

The ruling may also have implications for other European countries suspected of participating in CIA secret detentions. 

You May Like

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not again from: Canada
July 24, 2014 8:31 PM
In my view-
Poland needs to absolutely re-assert its full jurisdiction over security matters, when dealing with issues that affect its security, its alliances, its comittments, and country to country agreements.
If Poland, and other European countries, do not opt out of the jurisdiction of the EU court on security, their security envelope will be severly damaged by leaks, and by decisions requiring disclosure of sensitive information.
The court is clearly not likely to protect Poland's "particular interests", the court will go for the lowest common denominator, and apply rulings and directives that are not at all applicable to the situation of Poland and its particular best interests.
The Polish gvmt, and others, need to stand up for the sovereign rights of the nation, when it comes to their unique and specific conditions, as caused by their geoghraphical location and need to establish security arrangements it sees fit and necesary; and enter into security and defense agreements it sees fit and ncessary, with conditions that it may see fit and necessary, including not to disclose, to parties outside the agreement, nor allow their jurisdiction.
Just look at the very different way that the EU's Western countries are dealing with the Ukrainian security crisis, totally contrary to what the Polish gvmt has advised.
For as long as Poland does not re-assert its sole jurisdiction, on security issues, it risks not being able to strike country to country agreements, no one wants to partner, on security issues, with a leaky partner.
This particular action, against Poland, absolutely and clearly demonstrates the type of negative situation that Poland faces and will face in the future. DO NOT ACCEPT JURISDICTION. Your people did not give their lives for your freedom, so that others would dictate your security needs..

by: Ali bAba from: new york
July 24, 2014 5:12 PM
terrorism is a threat for many countries. CIA has the right to use any means necessary to protect the country .Human right court is wrong. .look and see what ISIL did? what Talban did? Are we going to give terrorism ice cream for obsession to kill and torture . we have to get tougher

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs