Guantanamo detainee seeks victim status in Polish investigation into secret CIA prison

Announcement came at news conference in Warsaw this morning

A Yemeni man held at Guantánamo has become the third person to seek “victim status” in an ongoing investigation by the Polish Prosecutor’s Office into Poland’s involvement in the US-led rendition and secret detention programmes.

This morning Mariusz Paplaczyk, the Polish lawyer of Yemeni national Walid bin Attash, announced that yesterday he had submitted an application requesting the Prosecutor's Office grant his client “injured person” (victim) status. After his arrest in Pakistan in 2003, Bin Attash passed through a number of CIA “black sites”, including one in Poland, before being taken to Guantánamo, where he currently awaits trial by military commission.

If Walid bin Attash is granted victim status, it will mean that prosecutors acknowledge that it is likely that he was harmed on Polish territory. Along with the granting of such status comes the right to participate in the investigation, including the ability to review evidence, obtain notice of hearings, and suggest lines of inquiry.

Today’s announcement came during a news conference in Warsaw to launch Amnesty International’s new report, Unlock the truth: Poland’s involvement in CIA secret detention (see ).

Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights, Julia Hall, said:

“This new development should provide the Polish authorities with a much-needed push to move forward and complete its lagging investigation which began five years ago into the country’s role in CIA secret detentions

“If Walid bin Attash is granted ‘injured person’ status in the investigation, he will be the third alleged victim of human rights violations at the hands of the CIA on Polish soil - along with Adb al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, whom we also profile in our new report.

“The Polish authorities must stop using ‘national security’ as a veil for the truth - it’s time to expose the extent of their collaboration in the CIA’s secret detention programme once and for all.”

The Polish investigation of the CIA “black site” has dragged on since 2008 and has been conducted largely under cover of secrecy. The Polish prosecutors have thus far declined to disclose almost any information related to the investigation or make its findings public.

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