THE CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled, a decision that puts pressure on the US and its allies to reveal the truth about the global programme for detaining al Qaeda suspects.

The US has acknowledged the existence of its "extraordinary rendition" scheme in the years after 9/11 but has never revealed which of its allies hosted the secret detention facilities.

Amrit Singh, a lawyer who acted for one of the men who brought the case, said the court's ruling established beyond reasonable doubt Poland hosted a secret jail run by the US government.

She said: "It's an historic ruling. It's time for them to own up to the truth."

The court case was brought by Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri who alleged they were flown in secret to a CIA-run jail in a Polish forest and tortured.

The two men, who are now in Guantanamo Bay, brought the case against Poland for failing to prevent their illegal detention and torture.