Poland wants US to rule out death penalty for Gitmo detainees

This photo made during an escorted visit and reviewed by the US military shows a soldier at the "Camp X-Ray" detention facility at the Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay on April 9, 2014 (AFP Photo/Mladen Antonov)

Warsaw (AFP) - Poland wants the United States to rule out the death penalty for two men who were tortured by the CIA in its territory before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay, according to a government letter released Tuesday.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Poland for hosting secret CIA prisons, saying it knowingly abetted the unlawful imprisonment and torture of Guantanamo-bound detainees Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian, and Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002-2003.

"Given the decision in al-Nashiri vs Poland, the government has decided to ask the United States for diplomatic assurances in favour of the plaintiff," the Polish foreign ministry said in a letter addressed to the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

"The government is also taking action to fulfil the obligations imposed (by the ECHR) on Polish officials in the two cases", the ministry added in the letter made public by the foundation.

The ECHR warned in its ruling that al-Nashiri could be sentenced to death in the US and asked Poland to find a way to eliminate the risk of the penalty, which is banned in Europe except for Belarus.

The trial of 49-year-old al-Nashiri, who allegedly led Al-Qaeda operations in the Gulf, could begin in September in the United States.

A Council of Europe committee warned that al-Nashiri and Zubaydah -- 43 and allegedly Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man -- risk appearing before a military commission that could use evidence obtained under torture.

Poland's former president Aleksander Kwasniewski acknowledged in December that the EU member hosted a secret CIA prison.