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NEW YORK – The Polish prosecutor will investigate the detention and torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at a black site in Poland after he was kidnapped and transported there by the CIA. This is the first time an extraordinary rendition victim's claims have been recognized in an official investigation in Poland. In response to the announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union called for accountability in the U.S. for top-level officials who may have known about and authorized torture, and for cooperation with the Polish prosecutor in securing documents and witnesses in the ongoing investigation.
In civil litigation, the Obama administration has continued to shield the Bush administration officials who knew about and authorized torture, most recently using the state secrets claim to block an ACLU lawsuit on behalf of five rendition victims. And while some low-ranking soldiers have been sent to prison for their roles in torture, no senior official has thus far been charged with any crime in connection with the torture program.
Al-Nashiri, who is accused in the 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing, was granted the status of "injured party" in Poland's ongoing investigation into torture in response to a September 21 petition from his lawyers.
The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU:
"Today's announcement that Poland will investigate the torture of Mr. al-Nashiri serves as a stark reminder of how little has been done in the U.S. to hold top officials accountable for torture. Holding torturers accountable is essential to restoring American credibility at home and abroad – the U.S. can no longer remain silent as, one by one, other nations begin to reckon with their own agents' complicity in the torture program through prosecutions and judicial inquiries."