Tuesday

28th Mar 2023

Polish media uncover evidence of CIA prison

Journalists from Polish TV station TVP and daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita say they have obtained new evidence that Poland ran a secret CIA prison used for extra-judicial extradition of terrorism suspects.

The evidence - documents and witness statements related to a Polish judicial investigation to see if the facility undermined Polish sovereignty - point the finger at the country's former Socialist government.

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  • A map from the Council of Europe showing the network of alleged US extraordinary rendition flights (Photo: Council of Europe)

The new information suggests that in December 2001, Poland designated 20 secret service agents to help in Washington's new war on terror and leased part of a military base in Stare Kiejkuty in the northwest of the country to the US.

Clandestine US flights to the nearby Szymany airport begn in December 2002. At least five subsequent flights by a suspicious Gulfstream jet landed in Szymany in 2003.

On four occasions, the flights had top security clearance, which could only have been granted by a handful of senior Polish officials.

On two occasions - 8 February and 6 March 2003 - the European civil aviation authority, Eurocontrol, was told the planes had landed in Warsaw when they had in fact stopped in Szymany.

A witness called by the Polish investigation has stated that in 2003 he saw "People in handcuffs, with blindfolds on, led from the plane."

The European Commission has in the past said that any EU country found to be in violation of basic human rights could face sanctions. Previous probes by the European Parliament and the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe also accused Poland of collusion but found no hard evidence.

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