In March 2008, the Warsaw Public Prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation into long-standing allegations that between 2003 and 2005, Poland hosted a secret detention centre, run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Detainees held in secret CIA custody were subjected to torture and enforced disappearance, and if the investigation proves the existence of a CIA "black site" in Poland, Polish officials may be may be implicated in some of these crimes. In June 2008, the investigation was moved to the National Public Prosecutor’s office and given highest priority.
Amnesty International welcomed the investigation as an important step towards accountability for the unlawful detention and transfer of detainees in and through Europe.
It is not the first time, however, that the Polish government has conducted an investigation into these allegations. There was a limited investigation by the Polish parliamentary secret service committee in November and December 2005, which the authorities claimed proved conclusively that no secret detention facility was operated by the CIA in Poland. The findings, scope and methodology of this inquiry have never been made public.
This time must be different; this time the investigation must be rigorous and transparent. If it produces evidence that Polish or US agents have committed crimes, these individuals must be brought to justice. There must be no immunity from prosecution for involvement in human rights violations.
Join Amnesty International in urging the Polish government to ensure that the prosecutor’s investigation is thorough, independent and transparent. The methods and findings of the investigation, and any charges or judicial proceedings that result, must be made public.