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Rights court hears US torture charge

A rare public airing over secret network of CIA prisons used to interrogate terror suspects in ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg gave a rare public airing to the secret network of CIA prisons used to interrogate terror suspects.

Lawyers for two detainees of the US Guantanamo Bay concentration camp have accused Poland of human rights abuses.

They say their clients fell victim to the CIA scheme to kidnap and torture terror suspects in a remote Polish prison.

One of the cases concerns Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who faces terror charges in the US for the alleged orchestration of an al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole warship in 2000.

The second case involves Palestinian Abu Zubaydah, who has never been charged with any crime.

Both men say they were taken to Poland in December 2002, where they were detained and tortured in a military installation in Stare Kiejkuty, a village in the country's remote north-east.

They claim they were subjected to waterboarding, prolonged stress positions and other extreme abuses and are asking the court to condemn Poland for the abuse of rights guaranteed by Europe's Convention on Human Rights.

Former CIA officials have admitted that a black site prison operated in Poland from December 2002 to autumn 2003.

However, Polish leaders at the time - former president Aleksander Kwasniewski and former prime minister Leszek Miller - denied the prison's existence.

The CIA has never said where the prisons were sited, but human rights groups say they included Afghanistan and Thailand as well as Poland, Lithuania and Romania.

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