Poland's CIA Rendition Payout Doesn't Go Over Well

Many feel they're being punished for American wrongdoing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2015 7:49 AM CDT
Poland's CIA Rendition Payout Doesn't Go Over Well
In this Oct. 15, 2000, file photo, investigators in a speedboat examine the hull of the USS Cole at the Yemeni port of Aden after a powerful explosion killed 17 sailors.   (Dimitri Messinis)

Poland is paying $260,000 to two terror suspects allegedly tortured by the CIA in a secret facility in the country—prompting outrage among many there who feel they're being punished for American wrongdoing. The European Court of Human Rights imposed the penalty against Poland, setting a Saturday deadline. Poland is now the only country in the world to face legal repercussions for the secret rendition and detention program, which the CIA operated under then-President George W. Bush in several countries across the world after 9/11. No other nation involved, from Pakistan and Thailand to Romania and Lithuania, has been held accountable. The Polish Foreign Ministry says it's processing the payments. However, neither Polish officials nor the US Embassy in Warsaw would say where the money is going or how it will be used.

It remains unclear how a European government can make payments to two suspects, Palestinian Abu Zubaydah and Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who've been held for years at Guantanamo. Even lawyers for the suspects are tight-lipped, though they say the money won't be used to fund terrorism. An opposition lawmaker says he considers the punishment unfair because the suspects were in the sole custody of American officials during their entire stay in Poland in 2002 and 2003—and never under Polish authority. "I think we shouldn't pay, we shouldn't respect this judgment," he says. For failing to stop the "torture and inhuman or degrading treatment" of the inmates, Poland must pay $113,000 to al-Nashiri, charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 US sailors, and $147,000 to Zubaydah, who hasn't yet been charged with a crime. More here. (More Poland stories.)

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