Poland concerned over release of 'black site' papers

Poland voiced deep concern Tuesday over what it said was a European rights court decision to release secret documents submitted by Warsaw over alleged CIA "black sites" on its territory.

Warsaw has branded the plans by the European Court of Human Rights to declassify the Polish documents as a threat to national security -- but the tribunal insisted that the only information it had received was already in the public domain.

In September, Warsaw provided the Strasbourg-based court with information for a probe into a Guantanamo inmate's claims he was tortured in an alleged CIA secret prison in Poland in 2002-2003.

The Polish government has repeatedly denied authorising any such CIA compounds, although prosecutors have launched a probe into the allegations that interrogations by the US spy agency of alleged terror suspects were carried out in secret prisons on Polish soil.

Warsaw had asked for the information it forwarded on Saudi national Abd al Rahim Al-Nashiri -- held in the United States as the main suspect in the 2000 USS Cole bombing off Yemen -- to be kept secret.

Al-Nashiri alleged he was held and tortured at a CIA "black site" in Poland in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Polish Justice Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said he was "very disturbed" by the European court decision to reveal Warsaw's information on the alleged black sites, saying it was a "threat to Polish security."

And government spokesman Pawel Gras said Poland would have to be "more cautious in its cooperation with the court," as many aspects of its own investigation were confidential.

"Until Polish prosecutors end their probe, our cooperation will not meet the expectations of the court, so as not to hinder our probe or the possible pressing of charges," Gras said, quoted by the PAP news agency.

The Council of Europe has said the alleged Polish site held several so-called "high-value detainees" -- including self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind and Guantanamo detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- and claims other secret prisons were also set up in Romania and Lithuania.

Both Bucharest and Vilnius have denied the allegations.

A European court spokesman said Warsaw had not provided any secret documents in the Al-Nashiri case, only written submissions that contain information already in the public domain.

"In accordance with its usual practice, the court's decision to lift confidentiality in respect of these submissions was taken after consulting the government," he told AFP.

Last week, Polish prosecutors extended a probe launched in 2008 into allegations that between 2002-2003 Warsaw had authorised the CIA to operate a prison in the northeastern village of Kiejkuty to interrogate 9/11 suspects.