Polish prosecutors are investigating a newspaper for leaking state secrets from a probe into an alleged CIA prison that operated in Poland about eight years ago, an official said Friday.
The Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported Monday that a prosecutor who was recently removed from a three-year investigation into the CIA site had planned to bring criminal charges against Polish politicians who were in power when the now-shuttered site operated.
Adam Borzyszkowski, a prosecutor in Gdansk, said his office would question the reporter and editors at the newspaper due to "state secrets being leaked" from the main investigation. He said those steps come amid an ongoing 10-month investigation into other media reports that leaked sensitive information.
Former CIA officials have told The Associated Press that the prison operated from December 2002 until the fall of 2003, and that prisoners were subjected to harsh interrogations there. The Council of Europe and the United Nations have also said they have evidence the site existed.
However, Polish officials in power at the time adamantly deny that there was ever such a site.
The issue is deemed extremely sensitive because any Polish involvement in treatment that amounted to what human rights lawyers call torture would have violated European conventions and laws.
Under heavy international pressure, Poland opened an investigation into the matter in 2008. The probe is focused mainly on determining whether Polish leaders abused their powers by allowing Americans to operate the secret CIA site _ but it is also trying to establish the basic facts of what happened there.
The report came on the heels of a shake-up in the investigation office in which one of two prosecutors, Jerzy Mierzewski, was replaced after three years of working on the case.
The prosecutor's office described the shake-up as an administrative matter. However, human rights lawyers believe Mierzewski was trying to clarify whether torture took place in Poland, and they suspect political interference was behind his removal. The authorities deny this.
Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Mierzewski had intended to charge key Polish leaders in power in 2002 with crimes against humanity and with breaking Poland's constitution for allowing the site to operate.
The paper also quoted another Polish official, Jozef Pinior, a former European Parliament member who helped in that parliament's investigation of the matter, as saying that a document exists with the signature of former Prime Minister Leszek Miller that "regulated the functioning of a CIA prison in Poland."
Miller lashed back against that claim, denying it and accusing the newspaper of "inviting al-Qaida" to Poland with its report.
Monika Scislowska contributed to this report.