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Case of al-Nashiri v. Poland declassified

The ECtHR decided to lift the secrecy in the proceedings pending in the case of al-Nashiri v. Poland. The case was communicated to the Polish Government in July 2012. The applicant claims that in years 2002-2003 he was tortured in a secret CIA prison in Poland.

In its communication, the Strasbourg Court requested a series of information from the Polish authorities, including the delivery of documents confirming the existence of a secret CIA prison in Poland. Since the domestic investigation is classified, the ECtHR allowed Poland to furnish the requested information without having to disclose it to the public.

Despite the guarantees offered by the Polish Government, it has failed to provide any additional documents, except for the statement containing information which to a large extent has already been publicly known and available. For instance, the Polish authorities notified the Court that 62 persons had been heard in the course of the pending investigation. It should be noted that such information was disclosed in response to the request for access to public information granted to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in April 2012.

As stated by Deputy Foreign Minister Maciej Szpunar the Court’s decision to declassify all the information received from the Polish Government would limit the Government’s ability to further cooperate with the Strasbourg Court and provide more information in the case. The Polish Government sought the restriction of access to documents due to the fact that their public disclosure could not be in the best interest of the pending investigation.

The ECtHR announced a trial would be held in Mr al-Nashiri’s case. Such a decision is taken only in exceptionally important cases, where additional explanations are needed.

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