Detention & Guantanamo

ECHR: Poland's Role in CIA Black Site Violated Detainees' Human Rights

By Wells Bennett
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 10:08 AM

The European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") today handed down a pair of judgments in long-running human rights cases brought against Poland by two U.S. terrorism detainees---Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad Al Nashiri.  As is well known, both had alleged violations of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, arising from their detention and interrogation, in Poland, at the hands of the Central Intelligence Agency.

I have only skimmed the two rulings; the ECHR's press office sums them up as follows:

The cases Al Nashiri v. Poland (application no. 28761/11) and Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland (no. 7511/13) concerned allegations of torture, ill-treatment and secret detention of two men suspected of terrorist acts. The applicants allege that they were held at a CIA “black site” in Poland.

In today’s Chamber judgments, which are not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously:

in both cases, that Poland had failed to comply with its obligation under Article 38 of the European Convention on Human Rights (obligation to furnish all necessary facilities for the effective conduct of an investigation);

in both cases, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the Convention, in both its substantive and procedural aspects;
a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security);
a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life);
a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy); and,
a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial).

As regards Mr Al Nashiri, the Court further held that there had been a violation of Articles 2 (right to life) and 3 of the Convention taken together with Article 1 of Protocol No. 6 (abolition of the death penalty).

Having regard to the evidence before it, the Court came to the conclusion that the applicants’ allegations that they had been detained in Poland were sufficiently convincing. The Court found that Poland had cooperated in the preparation and execution of the CIA rendition, secret detention and interrogation operations on its territory and it ought to have known that by enabling the CIA to detain the applicants on its territory, it was exposing them to a serious risk of treatment contrary to the Convention.