Poland to pay $262,000 to secret CIA prison inmates after European court rejects appeal



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WARSAW, Poland — Poland will pay 230,000 euros ($262,000) in compensation to two terror suspects who say they were tortured at a CIA secret prison that Poland hosted from 2002-2003, a government minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna spoke after the European Court of Human Rights in France rejected Poland's appeal of its earlier ruling.

"We will abide by this ruling because we are a law-abiding country," Schetyna told Polish Radio 3. "It is a question of the coming weeks, a month."

But he questioned how the money would be used and whether it needed to be paid directly to the suspects, who are imprisoned in Guantanamo.

Opposition lawmaker Witold Waszczykowski and some other lawmakers also said the money should not be paid to terror suspects because that would violate security interests.

The European court ruled in July that Poland violated the rights of terror suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri by allowing the CIA to imprison them and by failing to stop the "torture and inhuman or degrading treatment" of the inmates. It ordered Warsaw to pay 130,000 euros ($148,000) to Zubaydah, a Palestinian, and 100,000 euros ($114,000) to al-Nashiri, a Saudi national charged with orchestrating the attack in 2000 on the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Poland appealed the ruling, saying it could influence its own investigation of the case.

The July ruling was the first that any court has passed on the so-called "renditions program" that U.S. President George W. Bush launched after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Since 2008, Polish prosecutors have been investigating whether Poland hosted a secret CIA prison, in violation of its laws. They have charged one person, whose identity they did not reveal. Two past leaders, former President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former Prime Minister Leszek Miller, only recently admitted they had allowed the secret CIA prison to operate in Poland, but said they never authorized harsh treatment of inmates and had no oversight of the facility.

The European court's ruling is expected to speed up Poland's investigation, which is mostly classified.

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