Helsinki Foundation

2011-09-19 Bodnar: Polish secrecy law might trigger mass protest and a coalition of NGOs

In an interview with press agency PAP, Adam Bodnar (Helsinki Foundation) called on Polish president Bronisław Komorowski to veto a proposed law that will prevent access to public records, if a release would have a negative impact on the economic interests of the government. Such a law would in effect prevent access to data on international negotiations.

He stated that NGOs might form a coalition to join forces in protesting against such a law. Based on discussion he read on the internet, he also predicts a mass protest, should this serious infringement of civil liberties be in fact be ratified.

As recent months have shown, this is not an unrealistic scenario; an online protest has recently led to increased press coverage of the investigation into a CIA prison in Masovia.

The Helsinki Foundation, which also runs the Observatory of the Dealings of the CIA on the Territory of the Republic of Poland, opposes the new legislation.

2011-06-07 Poland, the CIA and the Abd al Nashiri case [Update]

The role of European countries in the rendition, detention and torture of alleged terrorists has been scrutinized numerous times. The most comprehensive overview was compiled by Swiss politician Dick Marty on behalf of the Council of Europe in 2006. This report is freely available on the internet.

This document describes a network of European countries facilitating extrajudicial measures taken by the CIA. If these allegations can be proven, they are in violation of national and international law.

In the above report, two European countries are said to have hosted so called "black sites" in which detainees would be subject to torture, Poland and Romania. The main arguments supporting these allegations are flight tables, from which can be proven that aircraft connected to the CIA landed at airports which are not normally used for international traffic of this scale.

These assumptions are also supported by eye witness accounts of airport employees, detainees, and others with a knowledge of these sites.

This information has been in the public domain for years, but there have not been any serious legal consequences for those involved. Even though a parliamentary committee investigation in Lithuania concluded that there were at least two black sites in the country, this did not lead to a prosecution. (Lithuania is not mentioned in the Marty report as these prisons were in operation in 2005 and 2006, during and after the report was written).

Of these three countries, Poland's role has been scrutinized most in the international press:,1518,621450,00.html

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