Polish prosecutors get more time for CIA jail probe

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 12, 2013 4:13 AM

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish prosecutors have extended until early October the five-year-old criminal investigation into allegations that the CIA ran secret jails on Polish soil, a case human rights campaigners say the authorities are deliberately dragging out.

The United States has acknowledged using a network of facilities in several foreign countries to detain al Qaeda suspects who threatened national security in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.

Poland is the only one of the alleged hosts of the CIA "black sites" which has a criminal investigation open. If the case goes to trial it could implicate senior political figures and complicate relations with its U.S. allies.

The investigation has been extended several times. Human rights activists, and lawyers for two men who allege they were held in the CIA facility in Poland, accuse the authorities of deliberate foot-dragging.

"The general prosecutor decided yesterday to extend by four months the investigation," said Mateusz Martyniuk, spokesman for the general prosecution, in a text message on Wednesday.

Activists say prosecutors have sufficient evidence to prosecute former Polish officials who allowed the CIA to operate the jail, but are under political pressure to avoid a trial.

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The government and prosecutors deny any political interference and say they are committed to a full investigation.

The official position of the Polish authorities is that the CIA jail did not exist. The U.S. government has never revealed which countries hosted the CIA facilities.

(Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Patrick Graham)