“I collapsed and lost consciousness on several occasions. Eventually the torture was stopped by the intervention of the doctor.
I was told during this period that I was one of the first to receive these interrogation techniques, so no rules applied. It felt like they were experimenting and trying out techniques to be used later on other people.”
Abu Zubaydah, quoted in ICRC report on the treatment of fourteen ‘high value detainees’ in CIA custody, February 2007,
In 2002 Saudi Arabian national ‘Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian man born in Saudi Arabia, were arrested in Dubai and Pakistan, handed over to US custody and held in secret detention by the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for about four years They were held without any contact to the outside world, in solitary confinement, and were allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment whilst under interrogation. This included ‘waterboarding’, beatings and kicking, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and threats. In September 2006, they were transferred to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, where they remain.
Abu Zubaydah and ‘Abd al-Nashiri have alleged they were detained in a secret CIA prison in Poland between 2002 and 2003. These prisons were operated as part of the covert CIA-run rendition and secret detention programmes after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA.
Any role Poland played in the men’s renditions and secret detention has to be uncovered. Anyone in Europe who is responsible for collaborating with the CIA in rendition, secret detention, enforced disappearance, and torture or other ill-treatment must be held accountable.
In March 2008, the Polish Prosecutor General launched an investigation into Poland’s involvement in the US-led rendition and secret detention programmes. Both men have been named as “victims” but the investigation has been mostly secretive, and they have not been allowed to meaningfully take part in it.
Now with Poland holding the European Union presidency (July-December 2011), it’s time to put pressure on the Polish government to make sure it continues the current investigation in a full, independent, impartial and effective way.