CIA Torture Sites in Poland: Thirty Million Dollars for Torture Victims

von Adam Bodnar

According to the US Senate report into the CIA rendition programme and prisons, US authorities paid 30 million dollars to Polish secret services in return for the opportunity to establish and operate the CIA detention facility in Stare Kiejkuty. The case is currently under investigation. We expect that the official probe will end with the criminal prosecution of people who are responsible for establishing the facility and also those who applied torture on the Polish soil.

Still, thirty million dollars is not an amount of money to be cast aside. It is obvious that we must explain what happened with the sum, where the money went – at least so promises Marek Biernacki, Chair of the Sejm Intelligence Committee. But the amount can also be considered a symbol of the evil perpetrated in the territory of Poland. We can try to make the best out of this evil by using this money to finance a comprehensive state policy on assistance for victims of torture.

For a Pole, torture seems to be an abstract concept, something that appears in reporting pieces or Hollywood films, and affects only villains, meaning “terrorists”. In any case, this happens somewhere far away, in distant countries, and does not concern us at all. Yet victims of torture live close to us, in Poland. These are Polish survivors of concentration camps, gulags or communist prisons, but also refugees who come to Poland every day from Chechnya, Syria, Afghanistan, Congo and recently – also from Ukraine. Many refugees are victims of torture, people who have been beaten, raped or starved at Polish stations, detention centres and different kinds of camps, and persecuted by armed groups operating in war-stricken areas. Torture still remains one of the most popular ways of forcing one’s testimony or simply taking vengeance on enemy nations, ethnic and religious groups or political opponents ...

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