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Rendition: ministers want diplomatic assurances from USA on death penalty and Polish investigation stepped up
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Representatives of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe have called upon the USA to provide assurances to the Polish authorities that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who the European Court of Human Rights ruled was subjected to rendition, secret detention and interrogation by Poland through its collaboration with the CIA, will not be subjected to the death penalty. He is currently held in Guantánamo Bay.

The 47-member Committee of Ministers is responsible for supervising the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and in a decision made at their meeting a week ago "invited the authorities of the United States to heed the Polish request for diplomatic assurances," and "called upon the Polish authorities to increase their efforts, without further delay, in order to make progress," into the domestic investigation of the treatment of al-Nashiri and Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad
Husayn (Abu Zubadayah), who also remans in Guantánamo.

The decision of the Committee of Ministers is copied below and is also available here (Council of Europe, link). The full list of decisions can be found here (pdf). It lists the texts adopted at the meeting and the judgments to which they are related, which concern: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

The cases against the UK are Hirst, concerning the right of prisoners to vote; and McKerr, concerning the "actions of security forces in Northern Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s.

Detailed background on the Al-Nashiri and Husayn case: Communication from Poland concerning the Al Nashiri group of cases against Poland (Application No. 28761/11) (pdf)

Decision of the Committee of Ministers

1273rd meeting – 6-8 December 2016

Item H46-18

Al Nashiri group v. Poland (Application No. 28761/11)


The Deputies

Individual measures

1. recalled that, under the jurisdiction of the United States, Mr Al Nashiri continues to face a real risk of being subjected to the death penalty and both applicants are subjected to a flagrant denial of justice and that this situation results from an “extraordinary rendition” operation organised by a United States body;

2. expressed serious concern at the absence of reply from the United States authorities to the latest Polish request for diplomatic assurances, submitted in July 2016, to prevent the application of the death penalty to Mr Al Nashiri and to put an end to the flagrant denial of justice to which both applicants remain exposed;

3. recalled that the United States has observer status with the Council of Europe and as such shares its ideals and values and once again invited the authorities of the United States to heed the Polish request for diplomatic assurances;

4. recalling the crucial importance for the Polish authorities to follow up actively their request for diplomatic assurances at the highest political levels, urged them regularly to inform the Committee of the concrete steps taken to this effect;

5. also called on the Secretary General and the representatives of the member States of the Council of Europe to continue raising the issue of assurances in their contacts with the United States authorities and invited the Secretary General to transmit this decision to the Permanent Observer of the United States;

6. as regards the domestic investigation into the events, expressed regret at the response given by the United States authorities to the latest Polish request for mutual legal assistance and, in particular, at their declared unwillingness to process any further similar request and invited the Polish authorities to reflect upon means to counter the consequences of this situation;

7. noted with concern the continuing absence of tangible results in the domestic investigation in Poland; and called upon the Polish authorities to increase their efforts, without further delay, in order to make progress; despite the challenges posed by the existing domestic legal framework, invited nevertheless the Polish authorities to bear in mind the exceptional nature of the violations at issue;

General measures

8. invited the Polish authorities to complete rapidly their reflection on the measures required to strengthen supervision over the intelligence services, including over the high-level decision-making process;

9. invited the Polish authorities to do the same as regards the necessity of putting in place a procedure for unhindered communication and exchange of documents with the European Court;

10. decided to resume consideration of the urgent individual measures in these cases at their 1280th meeting (March 2017) (DH) and invited the authorities to provide updated information concerning the other individual and general measures in good time for their 1288th meeting (June 2017) (DH).

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