Tag Archive: European Court of Human Rights

Poland asks European court to hide CIA secret torture prison case from public

Published time: October 30, 2013 22:50
Edited time: November 01, 2013 11:16

An aerial view shows a watch tower of an airport in Szymany, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland, September 9, 2008. It was identified as a potential site which the CIA used to transfer Al-Qaeda suspects to a nearby prison. (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

An aerial view shows a watch tower of an airport in Szymany, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland, September 9, 2008. It was identified as a potential site which the CIA used to transfer Al-Qaeda suspects to a nearby prison. (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

The public hearing in Strasbourg, France, scheduled for Dec. 3, will be the first arguments testing allegations that the Polish government allowed the CIA to operate a jail for supposed Al-Qaeda fighters in Poland.

The request for a private hearing “will be examined by the court shortly,” a court spokesperson told Reuters.

Poland cited national security concerns as to why it wants the hearing to remain confidential. The Polish government would not comment on the story.

A Polish human rights group criticized the request for privacy, saying the public deserves to know whether Poland allowed the CIA to hide prisoners from the American court system.

“We should have the right to review this case in public,” said Adam Bodnar, vice president of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. “I do not see a reason for confidentiality of proceedings.”


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  1. By Benjamin Fox

BRUSSELS – The rights of a British Airways check-in worker to express her faith were infringed when she was preventing from wearing a crucifix while working, according to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

  • The Court judgement offers qualified support for religious rights at work. (Photo: EUobserver)

In a landmark judgement on religious freedom of expression on Tuesday (15 January), seven ECHR judges ruled by a five to two majority that Nadia Eweida’s right to freedom of religion had been breached. They also awarded her €2,000 in compensation and €30,000 in legal costs. The cases were brought to the court to appeal against judgements in the UK’s domestic courts.

In a statement, the Strasbourg-based court judged that “a fair balance had not been struck between, on the one side of the scales, her desire to manifest her religious belief and to be able to communicate that belief to others, and on the other side of the scales, her employer’s wish to project a certain corporate image (no matter how legitimate that aim might be)”.

The judges added that other employees had been allowed to wear hijabs and turbans, noting that “the fact that the company had amended the uniform code to allow for visible wearing of religious symbolic jewellery showed that the earlier prohibition had not been of crucial importance.”

It added that the British courts had given “too much weight” to the corporate interests of British Airways.

However, the Strasbourg-based court threw out the claims of three other Christian applicants who had also claimed that they had been victims of religious discrimination, including a case similar to the Elweida judgement in which Shirley Chaplin, a nurse, had been asked to remove her crucifix when working on a hospital ward.


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CIA ‘tortured and sodomised’ terror suspect, human rights court rules

Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen

    Khaled el-Masri

    The European court of human rights has ruled German citizen Khaled el-Masri was tortured by CIA agents, the first time the court has described treatment meted out by the CIA as torture. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/AP

    In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

    Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA “rendition team” at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

    It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

    “The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment,” said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

    He described the judgment as “an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror”. It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was “simply unacceptable”, he said.

    Jamil Dakwar, of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the ruling as “a huge victory for justice and the rule of law”.

    The use of CIA interrogation methods widely denounced as torture during the Bush administration’s “war on terror” also came under scrutiny in Congress on Thursday. The US Senate’s select committee on intelligence was expected to vote on whether to approve a mammoth review it has undertaken into the controversial practices that included waterboarding, stress positions, forced nudity, beatings and sleep and sensory deprivation.

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    Government Overreach :  Hypocrisy – Invasion Of Privacy – Fundamental Rights – Security – War on terror

    Terror laws: customs officials could take passengers’ DNA

    Passengers could be forced to provide fingerprints and DNA samples against their will as they pass through airports, under planned changes to anti-terror laws.

    Theresa May is considering scaling back terror checks at Britain’s borders.

    Almost 70,000 passengers were stopped and questioned under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act last year Photo: PA

    By , Political Correspondent

    For the first time, customs officials and immigration officers would have the power to take mouth swabs or hair samples without a passenger’s consent, the Home Office confirmed.

    Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is proposing to reform existing powers that police and immigration officers have to stop and search anyone entering the UK, regardless of whether they are suspected terrorists.

    The government conceded that there were concerns that the sweeping powers were being “unfairly” applied to Muslims and other minorities.

    In a consultation document, Mrs May outlined a series of reforms intended to ensure that searches under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 are used “proportionately” in future.

    One option could potentially make it easier for officers to take DNA through mouth swabs or hair samples at an airport or port against a passenger’s wishes.

    Currently, such samples can only be taken without consent after the individual has been transferred to a police station, where a superintendent is required to provide authorisation.

    Under the planned changes, the requirement to transfer a detainee to a police station to take fingerprints and DNA samples would be dropped. Instead, authorisation would be given for the sample to be taken at the port or airport.

    The Home Office said the aim would be ensure “the period of the examination is not extended by having to transfer a person to a police station”.

    Isabella Sankey, Director of Policy for Liberty, said: “Schedule 7 allows for people to be detained for nine hours and for their DNA to be taken without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

    “Despite claims from the Home Office that it plans to reduce powers of DNA sampling, on closer inspection what’s proposed would create new powers to take DNA at ports.

    “Making a blunt and discriminatory power even easier to use will do little to alleviate the resentment in communities most affected.”

    Ministers are also considering scrapping the power for officers to collect “intimate” DNA samples, of blood or urine, arguing that there is no evidence that such material is more useful in preventing terrorism than mouth swabs.

    Strip searches could also be limited so that only genuine suspects would be ordered to comply. The time that an individual can be detained for could be reduced from the current nine hours to six hours or lower, under the reforms.

    Mrs May said the powers were “an essential part of the UK’s border security arrangements, helping to protect the public from those travelling across borders to plan, finance, train for and commit terrorism.” The Home Office argued that terrorist groups remain interested in attacking arlines.

    “The Government takes all necessary steps to protect the public from individuals who pose a threat to national security,” Mrs May said. “But we want to ensure these powers are used proportionately, and are effective. This consultation seeks the views of the public to help ensure we get this right.”

    Figures showed almost 70,000 people were questioned by officers at British ports and airports between April 2011 and March 2012, with nearly 600 providing DNA samples or fingerprints.

    Some 45 per cent of the 681 passengers who were detained during the period were of Asian or Asian British origin, while 8 per cent were white, the figures showed.

    Liberty said the powers had caused “understandable community resentment” because most of those targeted had been non-white. The organisation is challenging the power at the European Court of Human Rights.



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