December 9, 2005

Poland was main CIA detention base in Europe: HRW

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland was the heart of the CIA's secret
detention network in Europe, with bases there until recently
holding a quarter of the 100 detainees estimated held in such
camps worldwide, a human rights group said.

Reports of the CIA operating secret jails in Poland and
Romania as part of its war on terror have raised controversy on
both sides of the Atlantic and dogged U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's European trip this week.

"Poland was the main base for CIA interrogations in Europe,
while Romania played more of a role in the transfer of detained
prisoners," Marc Garlasco, a leading analyst at Human Rights
Watch, was quoted by Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on Friday as

Garlasco said the CIA had set up two detention centers in
Poland, which were closed shortly after the Washington Post
published an article about secret prisons last month.

He said the allegations were based on information from CIA
sources and other documents obtained by Human Rights Watch. "We
have leads, circumstantial evidence to check but it's too early
to reveal them," Garlasco said.

Polish authorities have repeatedly denied the existence of
secret jails of any form on Polish territory, with Prime
Minister Kazimierz Marcinkieicz saying this week he would fully
cooperate in human rights probes into the allegations.

Poland is one of Washington's leading allies in Europe,
where it irked EU heavyweights Germany and France by backing
the U.S. war with Iraq and sending troops there.

European countries responded to public pressure by seeking
answers from Washington before Rice's trip, but quickly
retreated in the face of her defense that the United States
respected their sovereignty and acted within the law in its war
on terrorism.