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Logs show CIA planes flew into Poland

BERLIN — Two human rights groups released government flight logs on Monday that showed aircraft linked to the Central Intelligence Agency's program for secretly detaining, moving and housing terrorism suspects had landed in Poland.

Polish authorities have long denied that the country hosted one of the "black sites," part of a network of clandestine overseas prisons where suspected prisoners from al-Qaida were subjected to brutal interrogation methods under the CIA's so-called rendition program. Prosecutors in Poland are investigating the country's possible participation in the program.

The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency confirmed that it provided the flight logs to the two rights groups, the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. The logs showed six flights in 2003 by two aircraft, a Gulfstream V and a Boeing 737, five of which originated in Kabul, Afghanistan, and one in Rabat, Morocco, before landing at Szymany airport.

Former American intelligence officials have said that the chief plotter of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was interrogated at the secret base near Szymany airport after his capture in 2003, but the agency has refused to confirm that.

"The agency does not discuss publicly where facilities related to its past detention program may, or may not, have been located," said a CIA spokesman, Paul Gimigliano.

Adam Bodnar, head of the legal division at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, based in Warsaw, said that after years of anonymous reports, the flight records were the first official confirmation of the CIA flights to Poland.

"We are getting closer to the truth," he said.

"Of course Polish authorities may help the CIA in the fight against terrorism, but they are bound by the Polish Constitution, which prohibits torture," Bodnar said.

The Polish government declined to comment on the contents of the rights groups' report. "The prosecutor's office is investigating the reports about the alleged use of the Szymany airport," said Piotr Paszkowski, a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Robert Majewski, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, told the Polish news agency PAP on Monday that he did not expect the investigation "to end soon."

CIA officials have said that fewer than 100 prisoners were kept in the secret prisons between the creation of the program in 2002 and the transfer of the remaining 14 prisoners to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2006.

Maciej Rodak, vice president of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, confirmed that the agency had sent the records to the human rights groups. He said that the agency could not provide passenger lists, which the groups had also requested.

"The thing that is quite shocking is that the European investigations requested these specific flight records some four years ago," said Darian Pavli, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative, a human rights group in New York. "The Poles all these years said they could not locate them, the flights didn't exist."