WARSAW, Poland — Lawyers for a terrorism suspect held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp asked Polish authorities Thursday to open an investigation into allegations that American agents abused him at a now-shuttered secret CIA prison in Poland.
Abu Zubaydah's lawyers said they want to shed light on secret renditions and abuse by the CIA, a defunct system which remains clouded in secrecy. Options for bringing such cases to U.S. courts have been closed off in recent years, and Zubaydah's lawyers see Poland as perhaps the only country worldwide that might be willing to investigate the matter.
"Since 9/11, the United States has become a dark and angry place and if the rule of law is going to be vindicated, it has to start here," Joseph Margulies, an American lawyer for Zubaydah, said in Warsaw.
He said that secret sites operated across the world, but only Poland has a full-fledged investigation underway that appears intent on seeking the truth.
Zubaydah's legal team filed two separate motions with prosecutors in Warsaw.
One asks for Polish authorities to broaden an investigation into whether Polish officials abused their power by allowing the secret CIA prison to operate in their country, by considering Zubaydah a victim in the investigation, Polish lawyer Bartlomiej Jankowski said.
Another terror suspect, Abd al-Nashiri, received such victim status recently in the Polish investigation, a move that allows his lawyers to participate in the larger investigation by reviewing evidence and calling witnesses. It was not clear when prosecutors would decide on the motions in Zubaydah's case.
The Associated Press said it was told by former CIA officials that the CIA operated the prison from December 2002 until the fall of 2003, where prisoners were subjected to harsh questioning and waterboarding.
Human rights groups say they believe that probably eight terror suspects were held there based upon flight logs from CIA planes in and out of an airport near the site called Stare Kiejkuty. Admitted Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is also believed to have once been there, but not all the other names are known.
A second request asks for an investigation into allegations Zubaydah suffered torture and other human rights violations in Poland, Jankowski said.
The current investigation into possible abuse of power is classified as secret by the Polish state and none of the conclusions so far have been revealed. Jankowski said that the legal team hopes a separate investigation would allow the public to receive more information.