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Friday, June 8, 2007

Romania and Poland 'had US prisons'

JON BOYLE IN PARIS

A EUROPEAN investigator said yesterday he had proof Poland and Romania hosted secret prisons for the US Central Intelligence Agency in which it interrogated top al-Qaeda suspects using methods akin to torture.

Swiss senator Dick Marty said Poland housed some of the CIA's most sensitive prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who says he masterminded the 11 September, 2001, attacks on the US that killed 3,000 people.

"There is now enough evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania," Mr Marty said in a report for the Council of Europe human rights watchdog.

He said US intelligence told him the two EU members hosted the secret jails under a special CIA programme, created by George Bush's administration after 9/11 "to kill, capture and detain terrorist suspects deemed of 'high value".

Mr Marty said the former president of Poland and the current and former presidents of Romania knew and approved of their countries' roles in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA detentions and transfers, known as extraordinary renditions. He said the proof of his charges was confirmed in interviews with more than 30 serving, retired or contract workers for US or European intelligence services, but he had not seen the text of any US agreement with Poland or Romania on secret prisons.

Germany and Italy had used "state secrecy" to obstruct investigations, said Mr Marty.

Mr Marty said CIA sources confirmed to him that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another al-Qaeda captive, Abu Zubaydah, were held in Poland and subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques", which he called a euphemism for torture.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said there were no such secret centres and former defence minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski, one of those named, said: "Marty's work is pure political fiction. It is a waste of time and a waste of money."

The Romanian Foreign Ministry said the report contained "no evidence to confirm these allegations, except for unnamed sources, whose credibility cannot be estimated." A CIA

spokesman said Europe had been the source of "grossly inaccurate allegations about the CIA".

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