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Abu Zubaydah


Human rights groups and the United Nations have called for the prosecution of US officials involved in what a Senate report called the “brutal” CIA interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects.

A top UN human rights envoy said there had been a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level”.

The CIA has defended its actions in the years after the 9/11 attacks on the US, saying they saved lives.

President Barack Obama said it was now time to move on.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson said that senior officials from the administration of George W. Bush who planned and sanctioned crimes must be prosecuted, as well as CIA and US government officials responsible for torture such as waterboarding.

“As a matter of international law, the US is legally obliged to bring those responsible to justice,” Ben Emmerson said in a statement made from Geneva.

“The US attorney general is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible.”CIA torture report

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said that the CIA’s actions were criminal “and can never be justified”.

“Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of officials, torture will remain a <<policy option>> for future presidents,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that the attorney general should appoint a special prosecutor to conduct “an independent and complete investigation of Bush administration officials who created, approved, carried out and covered up the torture program”.

“The crime of torture has no statute of limitations when torture risks or results in serious injury or death, and the US government has the obligation under international law to investigate any credible evidence that torture has been committed,” an ACLU statement said.

“If there’s sufficient evidence of criminal conduct… The offenders should be prosecuted. In our system, no one should be above the law, yet only a handful of mainly low-level personnel have been criminally prosecuted for abuse. That is a scandal.”

CIA torture report key findings:

None of 20 cases of counterterrorism “successes” attributed to the techniques led to unique or otherwise unavailable intelligence

The CIA misled politicians and public

At least 26 of 119 known detainees in custody during the life of the program were wrongfully held, and many held for months longer than they should have been

Methods included sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, often standing or in painful positions

Saudi al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah was kept confined in a coffin-sized box for hours on end

Waterboarding and “rectal hydration” were physically harmful to prisoners, causing convulsions and vomiting

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Poland broke the European human rights convention in helping the CIA to render two terror suspects.

The judges said Poland had co-operated with the illegal transfers in 2002-2003, allowing two suspects to be interrogated on its territory.

It is the first such case concerning a CIA “black site” prison in Poland.

Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian, was arrested in Pakistan and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi, in Dubai.

Poland broke the European human rights convention in helping the CIA to render two terror suspects

Poland broke the European human rights convention in helping the CIA to render two terror suspects

The court held that “the treatment to which the applicants had been subjected by the CIA during their detention in Poland had amounted to torture”.

The two men are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

They complained to the court that they had been tortured at a US-run facility in Poland called Stare Kiejkuty, where Nashiri was held for six months and Abu Zubaydah for nine.

The ECHR, in its press release on the case, said that “the Polish state, on account of its acquiescence and connivance in the HVD [extraordinary rendition] Program, had to be regarded as responsible for the violation of the applicants’ rights committed on its territory”.

It added that Poland had been aware that the men’s transfer to and from its territory had been carried out by the process of “extraordinary rendition”.

“Consequently, by enabling the CIA to transfer the applicants to its other secret detention facilities, the Polish authorities exposed them to a foreseeable serious risk of further ill-treatment and conditions of detention in breach of Article Three [prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment],” it said.

The court ordered the Polish government to pay each of the men 100,000 euros ($135,000) in damages. It also awarded Abu Zubaydah 30,000 euros to cover his costs.