Poland charges ex-official over CIA prisons: report

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 10:19 AM
Poland charges ex-official over CIA prisons: report

WARSAW (Reuters) - A leading Polish newspaper said on Tuesday that prosecutors had charged the former head of Poland's intelligence service for helping to set up CIA prisons for al Qaeda suspects in the country at the height of the U.S.-led "war on terror".

Despite reports by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe stating Poland and Romania hosted CIA detention centres, Polish officials have repeatedly denied the existence of such bases on its soil and say U.S. planes were only allowed to land for refueling.

"Warsaw prosecutors office has already presented charges to the former intelligence head on January10, but did not disclose it publicly as the matter is top secret," Gazeta Wyborcza daily wrote.

Contacted by Reuters on Tuesday, the prosecutors office, which launched a classified probe into the matter in 2008, declined to comment on the report. Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, who headed Poland's intelligence service in 2002-2005, also gave no comment.

Two prisoners of the U.S. military jail in the Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, have said they had been held by U.S. agents in Poland.

Poland's smaller neighbor, Lithuania, was the first country in Europe to acknowledge it had worked with CIA in establishing two secret detention facilities in 2002-2006.

But Leszek Miller, one of Poland's three prime ministers at the time of the alleged CIA operations, reiterated on Tuesday no such thing ever happened on Polish soil.

"According to my knowledge, and as I have told you many times before, there were no CIA prisons in Poland," he said.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Angus MacSwan)