Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Belarus adds more fuel to the fire of secret CIA prisons


The scandal involving secret CIA prisons that erupted in 2005 is regaining momentum. Belarus added fuel to the fire, calling on the international community (during the regular session of the UN) to address the issue of torture in CIA prisons located in several European countries. However, the investigation of the case is still being stalled.

Evgeny Lazarev, deputy chief of the multilateral diplomacy department of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus, drew attention to the issue of torture in secret CIA prisons located in a number of European countries. He noted that proper investigations are not being conducted in the countries where prisons are located. Evgeny Lazarev brought up the Czech Republic as an example of the country whose authorities have refused to investigate the activities of secret CIA prisons on its territory until they received a request by the United Nations Council on Human Rights.

The Belarusian official suggested that the Special Rapporteur on torture should pay a personal visit to the Czech Republic and conduct an independent investigation in accordance with all international standards. Ben Emmerson, a UN expert on human rights, demanded that the United States released the documents relating to torture against detainees. Torture was conducted under the George W. Bush administration, but so far no one has been punished. "The entire world condemned the illegal actions of the CIA during the presidency of George W. Bush, but many details still remain classified. None of the officials answered for their actions," said Emmerson in his official report to the UN Council.

The UN expert urged the United States to persecute the officials involved in the creation of secret CIA prisons in other countries. But the Obama administration refuses to bring the organizers of the network to justice. In addition, Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General, said that the Justice Department was not going to bring charges against the CIA acting "under the orders" of their immediate supervisors. According to Emmerson, the U.S.  government is deliberately hiding from the public the names of the officials involved in the creation of secret prisons and torture. The UN expert insisted that the White House discloses the information about them in full and without delay, because the entire world was waiting for it.

The information on the existence of illegal CIA prisons around the world for the first time was released to the public by Dana Priest in her article in The Washington Post dated November 2nd, 2005. The countries where these prisons were located were called "Eastern European" in the article. According to the representatives of the respected newspaper, they have not specifically identified the names of the countries because they were asked not to by the White House. The next day the Human Rights Watch organization in New York reported that the secret prisons were located in Poland and Romania. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe set up a commission to investigate the issue. On January 24th, 2006 the commission released its first report stating that the governments of Poland and Romania were aware of the illegal activities of the CIA in Europe.

The Commission has also exposed a global network used by the CIA for illegal and secret transfer of prisoners and terrorists. 14 member countries of the Council of Europe volunteered in this network. CIA secret prisons were located in Lithuania, Romania and Poland. Lithuania was accused of illegal cooperation with CIA agents. Eight al-Qaeda terrorists were imprisoned in this country. The first secret prison was founded in 2002, and the second - in 2004.  

However, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office in 2011 stopped the investigation of this case because of the statute of limitations. Romania refused to investigate the case of a CIA prison located near the center of Bucharest. The prison was designed for six prisoners, but had no more than four prisoners in it. The prison was created in 2003 in a building of the archive of Romanian classified information. Prisoners here were treated somewhat better than those in other CIA prisons. They were "only" deprived of sleep and forced to stand for a long time in uncomfortable positions. In Romania humane torture of "waterboarding" was not used.

Poland has succeeded the most in the investigation of this case. The Polish prosecutor's office deserves praise as it had to overcome many difficulties to charge the ex-intelligence chief of Poland. President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Leszek Miller repeatedly stated that intelligence of their country did work with the CIA, but denied the existence of secret prisons in Poland.

But the truth eventually got out. A citizen of Saudi Arabia Abd al-Nashiri who is still in the Guantanamo camp on suspicion of terrorism, stated that from 2002 to 2003 he was illegally detained in a secret CIA prison in Poland. This fact is considered by prosecutors as illegal imprisonment with use of torture. In prison he was stripped naked and shackled in chains. Investigators held a running drill next to the naked body of Abd al-Nashiri and put a gun to his head. His head was covered with a special hood. Similar methods of influence were applied to other prisoners of the secret prison. Such actions are contrary to the international Convention against Torture. Moreover, the charges against the prisoner have not been proven. The investigation of this case lasted over five years and yielded no results.

The European Court of Human Rights was tired of waiting, and on January 22nd of this year decided to declassify the materials of the case. Earlier, the Polish authorities made all efforts to keep the proceedings secret from the public. The Justice Minister of Poland said that the decision threatened the national security of the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also opposed the publication of the materials in such a high-profile case. Many ordinary Poles are simply angered with the actions of their government that allowed a foreign country to create a secret prison in Poland where people were tortured.

Liberal Gazeta Wyborcza wrote that the Poles were outraged by the government's attempts to hush up the case. The fact that the Polish authorities agreed to place a secret CIA prison in their country could only be attributed to the excessive eagerness of the Polish leaders to please the United States. Those who allowed creating this prison in Poland - Leszek Miller and Alexander Kwasniewski - must be punished before a national tribunal, the newspaper wrote.

According to the Soros Foundation, over 50 countries participated in the secret delivery and torture of prisoners in CIA prisons. Close allies of the United States (Germany, UK, Canada), and some Islamic countries (UAE, Jordan, Yemen) were also involved in torture. Secret prisons were located in Poland, Lithuania, Morocco, Romania and Thailand, but many other European countries, such as Portugal and Spain, participated in the program indirectly, providing its airports and airspace to transport prisoners.

As mentioned above, investigations in different countries have been ongoing since 2005, but no one has yet answered for their deeds, and it is unlikely that anyone will. So far the U.S. has this kind of influence. It is clear to any expert who benefits from delaying the investigation or its complete cessation. The U.S. officials do not want the public to know the entire truth about the secret CIA prisons, and how state officials seeking to impose their imaginary democracy on the world tortured prisoners. The CIA is a special state that gives orders and controls strategically important decisions of the U.S. government. With this kind of influence and reluctance to open up it is safe to say that they will not allow persecuting its agents. Therefore, there are very few chances that in the near future the public will learn the truth about the secret CIA prisons.

Sergei Vasilenkov  


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