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Rights court to examine claims of CIA torture in Poland

Published: Updated:

The European Court of Human Rights will on Tuesday examine claims that Poland turned a blind eye to the torture on its territory of two Guantanamo-bound prisoners of the CIA.

Lawyers for Abu Zubaydah, a 42-year-old Palestinian, and Saudi Arabian national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, will tell the court that the government in Warsaw authorized the U.S. intelligence agency to detain their clients in Poland for several months in 2002-03 and that they were repeatedly tortured by waterboarding during that time.

They will also allege that the Polish authorities failed to act when the two men were transferred to Guantanamo in 2003, where they remain a decade later without ever having been put before a judge.

The court will be asked to rule that Poland failed to uphold its commitments under the European Convention of Human Rights by allowing the two men to be made victims of inhuman or degrading treatment, by allowing them to be illegally deprived of their liberty and by failing to properly investigate the men’s treatment.

The Strasbourg-based court is expected to take several months before issuing a ruling in the case.

Poland opened an investigation into the treatment of the two men in 2008 but it has yet to be concluded, a situation that has been condemned by the U.N.’s anti-torture body.

Poland is one of a number of European countries that have been accused of assisting the United States in the process of extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists from the Middle East to the controversial facility at Guantanamo.

Macedonia was condemned by the ECHR in December 2012 in relation to the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin who was arrested in Macedonia at the end of 2003 and transferred to a CIA prison in Afghanistan, where he was held in secret for five months.

The ECHR ordered Macedonia to pay el-Masri 60,000 euros in damages.