Accountability for Torture: Still Too Little, But Not Too Late
On Tuesday, lawyers for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Guantanamo detainee accused of planning the USS Cole attack, called on the Polish government to investigate and prosecute the Polish officials who knew about and authorized al-Nashiri’s detention and torture in Poland after he was rendered there by the CIA.
The filing was made by al-Nashiri’s lawyer in Poland in cooperation with the Open Society Justice Initiative. Amrit Singh writes at the Open Society blog:
Numerous reports have now confirmed that CIA black sites existed in Eastern Europe — in particular, in Poland, Romania, and Lithuania. In 2007, a Council of Europe report cited evidence of secret CIA detention facilities in Poland, at the Stare Kiejkuty intelligence training base, and in Romania. The same report noted that high level officials, including then president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniweski, either authorized or were aware of the black site at Stare Kiejkuty. A 2009 ABC News report of a secret CIA prison in Lithuania prompted an inquiry by the Lithuanian Parliament, which concluded that two sites in Lithuania could have been used for CIA detention. More recently, a United Nations report on secret detention confirmed that al-Nashiri was rendered to Poland.
As we blogged earlier this month, while in Poland, al-Nashiri was subjected to mock execution using a gun and drill.
Poland is already conducting an investigation into possible abuses of power by Polish officials who knew about the CIA black site at Stare Kiejkuty. Today’s action specifically asks Polish officials to investigate their government’s role in al-Nashiri’s abuse. Poland is the fourth European nation — joining Italy, Spain and Germany — to investigate its own role in the American torture and rendition program.
But where’s the accountability here at home? In civil litigation, the Obama administration has invoked the “state secrets” privilege to shield Bush administration officials who knew about and authorized torture. And while there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the scope of the investigation is unclear, and thus far none of the architects of the torture program has been charged with any crime.
Four European nations have shown the world that in their countries, even the highest level officials — even a former president — is not above the law. Tell Attorney General Eric Holder you demand a full and thorough investigation into the Bush-era torture and rendition program.