LONDON, UK – Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised to get to the bottom of allegations that his country played a role in the operation of a secret CIA prison on Polish soil where Al Qaeda suspects were interrogated.
Responding to newspaper reports earlier this week which revealed that prosecutors have charged Poland’s former intelligence chief, Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, with helping to set up covert CIA interrogation centers at the height of the ‘war on terror,’ Tusk told a news conference in Warsaw Thursday:
“No one, whether in Poland or on the other side of the Atlantic, should have a shadow of a doubt that this affair will be resolved.
“Poland will never again be a country where politicians, even if they are working hand-in-hand with the world’s most powerful country, can make under-the-table deals,” he pledged, according to the BBC.
However, he cautioned that those investigating the case “must rise to the highest standard of concern for state interest” and show the “utmost discretion,” Reuters reports.
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Former US intelligence officials have identified Poland, along with Romania and Lithuania, as countries that hosted secret CIA prisons, according to the Associated Press.
Polish human rights activists have published official records of several CIA aircraft – five of which were known to be transporting passengers – landing at a Polish army base at Szuymany in the north-east of the country in 2002 and 2003.
They claim that a secret interrogation center was located close by in Kiejkuty. The United Nations and the Council of Europe have also said they have evidence proving the site’s existence.
State prosecutors launched a probe into the allegations in 2008, and two Guantanamo Bay inmates, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri and alleged Al Qaeda facilitator Abu Zubaydah, have been given victim status after claiming they were held in Poland and subjected to harsh treatment.
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Poland has always officially denied the existence of secret CIA facilities on its soil and any involvement with interrogations. The country’s prime minister at the time, Leszek Miller, insisted in a radio interview Thursday that he “will always be on the side of victims, innocent people, women, children murdered by terrorists.”
Tusk, when asked whether the reports in the leading Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper that Siemiatkowski faces criminal charges in relation to the prisons were true, indirectly confirmed that this was the case, saying:
“I did not come up with those charges, and, if I were in the prosecutors’ shoes, I would not come up with such charges. But maybe I don’t have enough information,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
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