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Human rights and CIA torture prisons in Poland and elsewhere

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While the United States claims to be a champion of human rights and often accuses other countries of violating human rights, more information is now being released about secret CIA torture prisons in other countries. Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) heard arguments by the lawyers for two detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba, who were apparently subjected to torture in Poland.

One individual who was tortured was, "Abu Zubaydah, a 42-year-old Palestinian, [who] allegedly made travel arrangements for Jihadists loyal to Osama Bin Laden, including those who carried out the September 2001 attacks in the US."

Another Guantanamo prisoner was "Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 48, a Saudi accused of organizing the 2000 attack on the USS Cole warship in Yemen, in which 17 sailors died."

The lawyers for the two men said that the tortures of the two men occurred in a secret prison in Poland in 2002-2003. The tortures, including water-boarding and harsh living conditions, were conducted apparently in "Stare Kiejkuty, a remote village in north-east Poland."

The Polish government has refused to provide any information about this and other prisons that the CIA may have been running in the country. The internal Polish has supposedly been going on for five years without any results being revealed. The Polish government spokesman has said, "The government does not wish to confirm or deny the facts cited by the applicants."

The two-day hearing in Strasbourg, Germany, was "the first time a European country has been taken to court for allowing US agencies to carry out 'enhanced' interrogation and 'water-boarding'."

The court also heard from the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism who stated that "systematic human rights violations are alleged to have occurred," in the Polish prison.

The ECHR is to take several months before issuing a ruling. But, at this time, no further hearings have been scheduled.

The prison in Poland was part of the "Extraordinary Rendition" program that was initiated during the George Bush presidency. Besides, Poland, numerous similar prisons were apparently run in diverse countries such as: Romania, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

It is baffling that the Guantanamo prison still remains open and the Obama administration has continued to refuse to punish any of the individuals who were responsible for these tortures conducted in foreign prisons. Of course, Congress is partly responsible for keeping Guantanamo open. But, President Obama could have taken more forceful actions to punish those responsible.

While more embarrassing details will probably emerge as the ECHR hearings continue, the U.S. will surely continue to accuse other countries of violating human rights.

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