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CIA agreement touted as evidence in 'black sites' investigation

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 19.06.2012 10:58
A partially signed agreement between Poland's intelligence service and CIA provides central evidence in the ongoing investigation into alleged 'black sites' in Poland.

Stare Kiejkuty: photo - scx.hu/whirlybird

According to a source at the Krakow Prosecutor's Office that is handling the investigation, the document was prepared in late 2001, early 2002, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the US.

The Americans “did not want to leave traces [of evidence]” the source told Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, commenting on the fact that the document was only signed by former head of Poland's Intelligence Agency (ABW), Zbigniew Siemiatkowski.

When queried about the document, Siemiatkowski stated that if his signature is present, it means that the document is classified, and that he is unable to talk about it. He did not confirm the existence of such an agreement.

Meanwhile, Adam Bodnar of the Helsinki Foundation – a human rights body that is monitoring the case – told that the paper that lack of an American signature does not invalidate the document as key evidence.

“The simple fact that the document was prepared attests to the fact that it there was a will [to create the CIA prisons], and that people who were aware of it, also knew about its contents.”

Accusations and denials

In 2011, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, made an unequivocal statement on the matter.

“It is clear that Poland hosted secret CIA prisons between December 2002 and September 2003. We know who was held there and what interrogation methods were used. They can be described as torture.”

Leszek Miller was prime minister of Poland at that time, at the head of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) government.

He has repeatedly denied knowledge of such a site, which is alleged to have been located in a villa near the Stare Kiejkuty military base in north east Poland.

Former president Aleksander Kwasniewski has also made several denials regarding the existence of the site.

However, in May this year, he appeared to suggest that there was more to the allegations than he initially indicated.

“Of course everything went on behind my back,” he told Gazeta Wyborcza.

Two men, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, have already been granted victim status by Polish prosecutors, after claiming that they were held in the alleged torture camps. (nh)

tags: cia prisons
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