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In brief: Rights court hits Poland for role in CIA program

Warsaw, Poland – Europe’s top human rights court has ruled that Poland violated the rights of two terror suspects by allowing the CIA to secretly imprison them on Polish soil from 2002-2003 and facilitating the conditions under which they were subjected to torture.

The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on Thursday marked the first time any court has passed judgment on the so-called “renditions program” that U.S. President George W. Bush launched after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The court, based in Strasbourg, France, said Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to stop the “torture and inhuman or degrading treatment” of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, who were transported to Poland in 2002.

It ordered Poland to pay $175,000 to Zubaydah, a Palestinian terror suspect, and $135,000 to al-Nashiri, a Saudi national charged with orchestrating the attack in 2000 on the USS Cole that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Both suspects are now imprisoned at Guantanamo.

Leszek Miller, the Polish prime minister at the time, slammed the court’s decision as “unjust and immoral” and said it would be absurd for Poland to pay a fine to “murderers.”

Man from Liberia dies in Nigeria of Ebola

Abuja, Nigeria – An Ebola outbreak that has left more than 660 people dead across West Africa has spread to the continent’s most populous nation after a Liberian man with a high fever vomited aboard an airplane to Nigeria and then died there, officials said Friday.

The 40-year-old man had recently lost his sister to Ebola in Liberia, health officials there said. It was not immediately clear how he managed to board a flight, but he was moved into an isolation ward upon arrival in Nigeria on Tuesday and died on Friday.

Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said it was the first case of Ebola to be confirmed in Nigeria since the current outbreak emerged this year. The disease already has hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“All ports of entry into Nigeria, including airports, seaports and land borders, are placed on red alert,” he said.

Russia sends copters, warplanes to help Iraq

Irbil, Iraq – The Iraqi government Friday confirmed that Russia has begun delivery of attack helicopters and warplanes as part of an arms deal intended to bolster the foundering military effort to retake the nearly half of Iraq lost this year to Islamist militants.

Mi-35 helicopter gunships and Su-25 fighter-bombers were hastily added in June to a multibillion-dollar arms deal that had been signed before militants from the Islamic State stormed through northern and central Iraq, eventually driving the crumbling Iraqi army to the gates of Baghdad.

Despite reports last month that six Russian Su-25s had been hurriedly rushed to Iraq and that Iran had returned a similar number of the same aircraft that it had seized at the outset of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, there’s been little sign of their use on the battlefield.

Matthew Henman, a military analyst for IHS Janes, the British military consultancy, said the lack of maintenance on the Iranian and Russian jets first reportedly delivered in June, along with a lack of experienced pilots and ground crews, make it unlikely they “would get any kind of operational use out of those aircraft, if they got them off the ground.”

The additional Russian deliveries announced Friday on Iraqi state television should change that. The refurbished Su-25s as well as advanced Mi-35 attack helicopters presumably will be in flyable condition.


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Administration seeks to expand immigrant family detention

UPDATED: 9:33 p.m.

The Trump administration is calling for the expanded use of family detention for immigrant parents and children who are stopped along the U.S.-Mexico border, a move decried by advocates as a cruel and ineffective attempt to deter families from coming to the United States.