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Poland will pay compensation to CIA torture victims

by Our Foreign Desk

POLAND announced yesterday that it was paying compensation to two victims of CIA torture at a “black site” — an unacknowledged secret prison — in the country.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled last July that Poland violated the rights of suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri by allowing the US Central Intelligence Agency to imprison them and by failing to stop the “torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” of the inmates.

It ordered Warsaw to pay €130,000 (£94,000) to Mr Zubaydah, a Palestinian, and €100,000 (£72,000) to Mr al-Nashiri, a Saudi national charged with orchestrating the attack in 2000 on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.

The Polish Foreign Ministry announced that it was processing the payments 24 hours ahead of today’s deadline.

But the two men have been held, almost incommunicado, at the illegal US detention camp of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba (pictured) for several years and their lawyers would not say how the payments would benefit them.

The ECHR ruling also required Poland to seek guarantees from the US that the suspects would not face the death penalty.

Retired US marine Jesse Nieto, father of one of the sailors killed on the USS Cole, said Poland was “crazy” for paying compensation to the men and asked: “Why should they dictate what is going to be the ruling of a US court?”

Poland is so far the only country to face legal sanctions over the secret CIA rendition, detention and torture programme carried out under former US president George W Bush.

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