Poland: government must investigate secret CIA jails
The Polish government must initiate a full, independent, impartial and effective investigation, which is adequately resourced and able to establish whether or not there was a CIA detention facility on Polish soil, and if so, the arrangements under which it operated. The investigating body must refer appropriate information about alleged criminal conduct and human rights violations to the relevant authorities. Prosecutors, in this or any future investigation, must have authority to investigate allegations that individuals were subjected to the crimes of enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment on Polish territory, regardless of nationality, position or rank of those alleged to have been responsible or complicit.BackgroundThe stonewalling and denials of the previous government are increasingly wearing thin. In August 2008, Polish media reported that a note prepared by military intelligence, confirming the existence of a secret CIA facility, had been seen by government officials in 2006. Allegations of secret CIA detention facilities in Eastern Europe first emerged in November 2005 in the Washington Post; other media and Human Rights Watch later identified Poland as one of the countries hosting CIA “black sites”. Earlier in 2005, Amnesty International interviewed three Yemeni men who had been held in the secret CIA programme, who had alleged that they were detained in Europe. Former detainees from other countries have since provided similar accounts. In 2007, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s report affirmed that “there was now enough evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania”. The Polish government initiated internal inquiries in November and December 2005. The Sejm (Polish Parliament) Secret Services committee conducted the investigation but did not release the findings or methodology. The government nevertheless claimed that they “unequivocally” showed that there was no secret detention facility in Poland.