European Court of Human Rights have ruled that the Central Intelligence Agency ran a secret jail in a Polish forest for the detention of Al-Qaeda suspects, reports Reuters.
The case was filed by Saudi inmates, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd Al Rahim Al Nashiri, who are currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison. They claim they were flown into Poland and later transferred to a jail where they were subjected to torture.
The facility, dubbed 'Quartz', operated as a CIA hub for interrogating suspected Al-Qaeda detainees following the 11 September, 2011 attacks in New York.
"It's time for them to own up to the truth," said Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative who represented one of the men who filed the case. Singh called the ruling 'historic' in a statement to Reuters.
The court ruled that there was substantial evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, that the men were held at a CIA-run facility in Poland. It also accused Poland of violating its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to prevent torture and ordered fines of £79,000 to be paid to Al Nashiri and £100,000 to Zubaydah.
"The ruling of the tribunal in Strasbourg on CIA jails is embarrassing for Poland and is a burden both in terms of our country's finances as well as its image," said Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek, a spokeswoman for the Polish president.
The ruling marks the first for a European court to blame the CIA for operating one of the secret jails, usually referred to as 'black sites' on its continent.
Poland has denied the existence of CIA-operated jails on its soil but is known to be one of Washington's closest allies.