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Third Guantanamo inmate granted 'victim status' in Poland: lawyer

In this courtroom drawing reviewed and approved for release by a US military security official, Walid Bin Attash (L) and Khalik Sheikh Mohammad, appear at their arraignment May 5, as accused 9/11 co-conspirators in this sketch
In this courtroom drawing reviewed and approved for release by a US military security official, Walid Bin Attash (L) and Khalik Sheikh Mohammad, appear at their arraignment May 5, as accused 9/11 co-conspirators in this sketch.

A third Guantanamo Bay detainee alleged to have been tortured in a secret CIA jail in Poland has been granted formal victim status here, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Poland is one of several EU members suspected of having hosted secret prisons or "black sites" set up by the US Central Intelligence Agency to hold suspected Al-Qaeda militants after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Lawyers for Yemen citizen Walid Mohammad bin Attash claim he was tortured in 2003 in a secret prison in Poland's northeastern village of Kiejkuty, before being transferred to Guantanamo.

"My client has gained victim status in Poland, which means that we as his legal team have access to the prosecutor's case files and can petition the court," lawyer Mariusz Paplaczyk told AFP.

"There's a high probability that Mr Attash was illegally held and tortured in Poland."

Paplaczyk said he requested victim status from state prosecutors in Krakow heading a probe into the existence of the covert jail.

They did not immediately respond to an AFP request for confirmation.

Polish prosecutors have granted two other Guantanamo inmates victim status: Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, considered a deputy to the late Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden who was killed by covert US forces in 2011.

Those thought to have been held in Poland include self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and faces trial at a US military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Polish officials have repeatedly denied authorising any illegal US detention centres. However former Polish spy chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski said last year that prosecutors had charged him in connection with the probe.

The Council of Europe insists that detainees were secretly held in Poland, kept in solitary confinement and subjected to "enhanced interrogation" that included torture techniques such as waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

The rights and democracy body also says the Polish site held several "high-value detainees" and that Lithuania and Romania also hosted such prisons.

In 2008, Polish prosecutors launched a probe into accusations that Warsaw had allowed the CIA to operate a prison from 2002-03 in Kiejkuty.

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