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Polish ex-intelligence chief charged in CIA 'torture' case

27th March 2012
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Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, head of Poland's intelligence services from 2002-2004, has been charged with breaking international law in connection with an investigation into CIA “black sites” which were reportedly based in Poland and in which terrorist suspects were allegedly subjected to torture.

Specifically, Mr Siemiątkowski is being charged with allowing the “illegal deprivation of liberty,” and the use of “physical punishment” on prisoners.

In an interview with television station TVP on Monday, Mr Siemiątkowski confirmed that the charges had been brought against him.

“While in the prosecutor's office I refused to answer questions and I shall continue to do so at every stage of the proceedings, including in court,” he said, pointing to issues of national security as his reason.

The charges relate to an investigation, launched in 2008, into whether Poland hosted CIA detention centers for suspected terrorists during the early years of the “War on Terror.”

A military base in Stare Kiejkuty, northeastern Poland, was allegedly used as one of the so-called CIA “black sites,” between December 2002 and September 2003.

In January this year, Polish prosecutors granted terror suspect Abu Zubaydah “victim status” in the investigation after he claimed to be a victim of secret detention and torture while in Poland.

There are suggestions that the current leader of the Democratic Left Alliance, Leszek Miller, who was prime minister during the period when the black sites were allegedly in use, could also be charged before Poland's State Tribunal, but that has not been confirmed. Likewise, there are questions over how much then-President Aleksander Kwasniewski knew of the CIA's actions in Poland.

From Warsaw Business Journal by Remi Adekoya

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