Counsel Calls On Polish Prosecutor To Investigate Torture Of Detainee At CIA Black Site

September 21, 2010

Obama Administration Should Broaden U.S. Investigation, Says ACLU

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NEW YORK – Counsel for accused USS Cole bombing plotter Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri today called on the Polish government to investigate and prosecute Polish officials who knew about and authorized al-Nashiri's detention and torture in Poland after he was kidnapped and transported there by the CIA. In response to the announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union today called on the Obama administration to broaden its own investigation into the Bush-era torture program to include top-level U.S. government officials who may have known about and authorized such abuse.

According to the petition filed by al-Nashiri's counsel with the appellate prosecutor in Warsaw, multiple publicly available sources indicate that at some time between November 2002 and September 2006 al-Nashiri was held and interrogated in a secret CIA site in Poland, where he was subjected to mock executions including having a gun and an electric drill held to his head while hooded and naked.

Poland is already conducting an investigation into possible abuse of power by Polish public officials who knew about the secret CIA site there, and today's petition calls for an investigation specifically into their role in al-Nashiri's abuse. Poland is one of several nations investigating its own government officials for complicity with the U.S. torture program.

The Obama administration has continued to shield Bush administration officials who knew about and authorized torture. An ongoing U.S. Justice Department investigation of the torture program excludes top-level officials.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU:

"The Polish investigation and today's petition serve as a stark reminder of how little is being done in the U.S. to hold government officials accountable for the Bush torture program. Although it has disavowed torture, the Obama administration continues to shield Bush era officials from judicial scrutiny for their role in authorizing and carrying it out. While other nations investigate their own complicity with torture, the U.S. government continues to suppress documents that would allow the public to understand the full scope of the torture program and continues to use the 'state secrets' privilege to block litigation brought by survivors of the Bush administration's torture program. The U.S. should take its cue from Poland and the rest of the world, and hold accountable high-level officials who authorized torture."

Al-Nashiri is currently detained at Guantánamo, where he is slated for trial in the military commissions system.

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