WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland has pressed the first charges in an investigation into a secret CIA prison on its territory, according to a newspaper.
The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper says former intelligence chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski has been charged with exceeding his powers, depriving prisoners of war of their freedom and allowing corporal punishment in an investigation that began in 2008.
Siemiatkowski told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he is obliged to remain silent on the matter.
“I cannot comment because all the proceedings are a state secret. I can neither negate nor confirm,” said Siemiatkowski, who was head of Poland’s Intelligence Agency between 2002 and 2004 when Poland joined in the Washington-led war on terrorism.
The charges would make Poland the first country to incriminate an official over CIA sites operated during Washington’s fight against terror.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Poland’s leaders illegally allowed the CIA to run a site and whether terrorism suspects were tortured there a decade ago.
Former CIA officials have told the AP the prison operated from December 2002 until the fall of 2003, and that prisoners were subjected to harsh interrogations. The Council of Europe and the United Nations have also said they have evidence the site existed.
However, Polish officials in power at the time adamantly deny there was ever such a site.
Two Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri and alleged al-Qaida facilitator Abu Zubaydah, have been given victim status in the investigation after claiming they were held in Poland and subjected to harsh treatment.
The investigation was recently taken from prosecutors in Warsaw _ who allegedly pressed the first charges _ and given to investigators in Krakow, but officials have not explained the reason behind the move.
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