Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Abu Zubaydah v Poland

Another extraordinary rendition case has been launched in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that will be relevant to those following Guantanamo detainees:  Abu Zubaydah v Poland involves the CIA’s black sites. The filings are available here.  A press release by Interrights, co-counsel (with Joseph Margulies and the Polish firm Jankowski & Co.) describes the significance of the case as follows:

The case is of interest because the complaint alleges that, through both its acts as well as omissions – including by agreeing to house the secret detention centre, turning a blind eye to normal protections and oversight, and otherwise participating in and facilitating the extraordinary rendition of Abu Zubaydah into and out of Poland – the Polish authorities are responsible for multiple violations of Abu Zubaydah’s rights.  

This case is also important because it is the most significant (and potentially only) European investigation into black sites underway.   The decision may help to shape the investigation, particularly because it focuses on the benchmarks for effective review. It follows El-Masri (decided by the ECHR in December 2012).  Related cases, Abu Zubaydah v Lithuaniaal Nashiri v Poland, and al Nashiri v Romania, are still pending before the ECHR.    
Abu Zubaydah is a stateless Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia who was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006 and remains in indefinite detention.   He has not been charged with a crime by a military commission or court.

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