Poland's government continues to avoid answering the European Court of Human Rights' questions about the existence of CIA detention facilities in Poland and how much Polish officials knew about them.
The matter came to light last Tuesday when the court decided to declassify documents pertaining to the complaint by Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national, accused of being the Al-Qaeda mastermind behind the bombing of the American destroyer USS Cole in 2000. In May 2011 Mr al-Nashiri filed a complaint with the ECHR claiming he had been detained in a CIA prison in Poland between 2002 and 2003.
The European court decided to lift the lid on the investigation in view of the apparent lack of cooperation from Polish officials in providing information relevant to Mr al-Nashiri's allegations.
Among the declassified documents is a letter from Polish officials sent to the Court in Strasbourg in September 2012, stating that public prosecutor's office had been investigating the accusations since 2008 and explaining the reason for the refusal to comply with ECHR's request.
"By addressing in detail the questions submitted by the Court ... the government could be seen as interfering with the competencies of the prosecution and judiciary authorities, which are independent of the government in Poland," the letter reads.
The ECHR informed Polish officials in July 2012 about Mr al-Nashiri's complaint and presented them with a list of questions about the alleged existence of CIA prisons on Polish soil.
Government representatives claim they want to cooperate with the Strasbourg Court but argue that the ongoing criminal investigation in Poland still makes it impossible for them to answer the Court's questions. The Polish government also asked the Court to limit public access to any information on the case.
Poland's security in danger?
Several politicians explained that the documents in the public prosecutor's investigation are classified and that making them public could pose threat to Poland's security.
Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin called the court's decision disturbing. "I can assure you that the government will do its best to ensure that the security of Polish people is not threatened," he said. When asked about his knowledge regarding the existence of CIA facilities in Poland, Mr Gowin replied that he had no reason to believe that such CIA prisons existed in Poland.
Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was disappointed and surprised with the Court's decision. Maciej Szpunar, undersecretary of state in the ministry, said, "The court must be aware that the decision to declassify all the information provided by the Polish government will result in limiting our ability to cooperate."
The news about the declassification of the documents in al-Nashiri's case coincided with the publication of a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) called "Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition." The OSJI's work is believed to be the most detailed report about the alleged help that the United States received from other countries.
The report contains a list of 54 foreign governments which reportedly rendered some kind of assistance to the CIA after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, either by allowing the CIA to run secret detention facilities or by letting the agency use airports while moving prisoners around the world.
Among other European, Asian, and African countries the OSJI listed Poland. The report gives the names of six individuals who allegedly were held in CIA prisons in Poland.
From Warsaw Business Journal
UPDATE: Boston explosions - 30 Poles in race. No Poles reported injured
Guantanamo detainee sues Poland
Another Guantanamo detainee sues Poland
Polish WSI involved in CIA prisons?
Did Polish military intelligence help with CIA prisons?
Is Poland's ruling party finished?
BY Remi Adekoya
Migration and remittances in the euro zone periphery
BY Stratfor Global Intelligence