|Zbiegniew Siemiątkowski headed Poland's intelligence service between 2002 and 2004|
Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, head of Poland’s intelligence service (the AW) from 2002 to 2004, has been charged by the Polish Prosecutor’s Office with breaking international law in connection with an investigation into alleged CIA “black sites.” Some of these secret detention facilities, where CIA suspects in the “global war on terror” were allegedly kept and, in some cases, subjected to torture, were reportedly based in Poland.
Specifically, Mr Siemiątkowski is being charged with allowing prisoners to be illegally deprived of their liberty and with allowing “physical punishment” to be used against them. He will face the charges in a domestic criminal court.
Mr Siemiątkowski, however, told television station TVP Info that he had “refused to answer the prosecutor’s questions and will continue to do so at every stage of the proceedings, including in court,” citing issues of national security.
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 terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah “victim status” in an 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 be charged in connection with the sites before Poland’s State Tribunal. However, this had not been confirmed as WBJ went to press.
Mr Miller reacted to the speculation by saying that those responsible for the “leaks” of information were “committing treason.” “This will not end until the prosecutor running to the media [with information] is punished,” the former PM told journalists. Mr Miller has denied that he had any knowledge of the CIA detaining and torturing prisoners in Poland.
A democratic country
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Donald Tusk reacted by saying that “there is no doubt Poland is a democratic country. This is a painful but very clear proof that no politician, even if hand in hand with the biggest superpower in the world, can do something that will never see the light of the day.”
“This is not the 19th century and not some Bantu state. Rulers have to know how to take care of the dignity of the Polish state and so do only what is in accordance with their conscience and the law,” he added.
However, he also said that if he had been the prosecutor, he “would not have formulated the charges,” and that Poland was “in a sense the political victim of the indiscretion of some people in the US administration several years ago.”
Those investigating the case “must rise to the highest standards of concern for state interest” and show the “utmost discretion,” he added.
From Warsaw Business Journal by Remi Adekoya
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