Human rights groups and lawyers have argued for years that Poland
allowed the Central Intelligence Agency to use the site, an
intelligence training academy in north-east Poland, to detain and
interrogate men it suspected of being al Qaeda leaders.
The Washington Post newspaper cited what it said were former CIA
officers as saying that the agency paid $15 million to Polish
intelligence in 2003 for use of the site, handing over the cash in
two cardboard boxes.
Piotr Kosmaty, spokesman for prosecutors in the Polish city of
Krakow who are pursuing a criminal investigation into allegations
about the facility, said it was possible the newspaper report
contained evidence about the case.
"In the course of the investigation that is underway, we will
analyze this Washington Post article and will include it in our
investigation," Kosmaty told Reuters.
The Washington Post article said the CIA declined to comment when it
inquired about the Polish site.
The case goes to the heart of the CIA's program of "extraordinary
rendition" in which suspected al Qaeda militants were moved around
the world and subjected to interrogation techniques that rights
campaigners say amounted to torture.
It also resonates in Poland because it would be a crime if Polish
officials colluded in any way in illegal detention or torture.
Politicians who held senior posts at the time could be prosecuted.
Polish officials have denied the existence of a secret CIA jail on
their soil. Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, asked by reporters
on Friday about the latest report, declined to comment on what he
said was "speculation."
Rights campaigners say that Polish prosecutors already have hard
evidence about the jail and the role that Polish officials played.
But they accuse the authorities of putting off prosecutions because
of the likely political fallout.
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The investigation has been running for five years, with no outward
signs of progress. Prosecutors deny dragging their feet, saying the
case is complex and time-consuming.
The Washington Post report included new accounts of what happened at
the alleged CIA jail.
The paper's sources described how two interrogators were pulled out
of Poland after word reached their superiors that they had used a
mock execution on a detainee.
The newspaper quoted the former CIA officials describing how Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed, accused of masterminding the September 11, 2001
attacks on U.S. cities, was subjected to water boarding while at the
They described how he initially resisted, counting down the seconds
before he knew the water boarding — or simulated drowning — would
stop, but that he later gave up information to his interrogators.
Mohammed is now being held at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, awaiting a possible military trial.
(Writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Tom Heneghan)
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