Shelby: Two terrorist suspects claim they were tortured in a CIA prison in Poland. And now the case has reached Europe’s human rights court. As Keith Kocinski tells us, a secret U.S. program is now under very public scrutiny.
Judge: I declare open the public hearing.
Keith: Judges on the European Court of Human Rights are examining claims that the Polish government let the U.S. arrest and torture terror suspects as part of the CIA’s program called ‘extraordinary rendition.’ Extraordinary rendition is when the CIA captures a terrorist suspect and then transfers them to another country. After 9-11, the U.S. created secret prisons, also known as black sites, in other countries to question and detain terrorist suspects. Keeping the detainees on foreign soil means they are not entitled to the same civil rights protection under U.S. law.
The Polish case involves a man from Saudi Arabia who is accused of being involved in an al-Qaeda attack on a U.S. warship in 2000 which killed 17 American sailors. The case also involves a Palestinian man who has never been charged with a crime. The men claim they were tortured in a forest in northern Poland in 2002 and subjected to mock executions and waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning. The U.S. is now holding both at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where most U.S. terror suspects are held. Their lawyers accuse Poland of human rights abuses for allowing the U.S. to operate the secret prison in its territory. Polish leaders, at the time, denied the existence of CIA prisons. Human rights groups accuse Poland of a cover-up.
This Polish case is the first of this kind to be heard by the court and could give clues as to how the judges will rule on similar cases. Romania and Lithuania will be facing the same European court for allegedly hosting U.S. black sites on their soil. As for Poland, the court has no timeline on its ruling.
Shelby: The U.S. government says it now interrogates terror suspects at sea, and the CIA says that it closed all secret prisons and stopped waterboarding suspects in 2006.