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HFHR comments on Poland’s appeal against ECtHR judgment on CIA black sites

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has expressed its concern about the Polish Government’s request submitted to the European Court of Human Rights for referring the case of Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah v. Poland for the examination by the Grand Chamber. A panel of five judges will decide whether or not the case is to be heard by the Court’s Grand Chamber.

In July 2014 the ECtHR entered judgments in the cases filed by the prisoners of alleged CIA prisons in Poland. The Court held that a number of human rights violations had occurred in the case, pointing to abuses of the prohibition of torture, the right to a fair trial or the right to personal freedom and safety. According to the Strasbourg Court, Poland had enabled the detention and torture of the two applicants.

The judgments have been widely discussed in the public debate. “The judgments probably would not have been so far-reaching if the Court had found that the investigation into CIA secret prisons conducted by the Appellate Prosecutor’s Office in Kraków had been handled properly”, says Dr Adam Bodnar, Foundation’s Deputy President. “However, the ECtHR came to entirely different conclusions”, Dr Bodnar adds.

“In the judgments, the Court also noted that Poland had failed to fully cooperate in the course of the proceedings taken in the case”, says Irmina Pacho, an HFHR lawyer. “The ECtHR held that Poland violated Article 38 of the Convention which reads that the Court examines the case together with the representatives of the parties and obliges the states involved to furnish all necessary facilities”, adds Ms Pacho.

According to the HFHR, given the significance of the judgments and the numerous violations of fundamental human rights established by the ECtHR, the Government should refrain from requesting the referral of the case to the Grand Chamber. The Foundation warns that the Government’s tactics of refusal to collaborate with the Court may negatively affect the image of Poland as a democratic state ruled by law. “For this reason, Poland should take any measures necessary to bring to an end the probe into CIA prisons, which have been ongoing for more than six years”, reads the today’s statement of the HFHR.


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