Lawyers on behalf of a suspected Al Qaeda agent have brought a case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasberg that alleges their client was tortured by CIA agents in a secret “black site” US base in Lithuania.
In early 2005 Abu Zubaydah was rendered to Lithuania where he was held in a secret detention facility, constructed and equipped specifically for CIA detention, in accordance with prior authorisation from high level Lithuanian authorities. Lithuanian officials were responsible for the establishment of the secret detention facilities for use by the CIA. They participated in and provided cover for the extraordinary rendition of individuals including Abu Zubaydah into and out of Lithuania, and their secret detention and torture on Lithuanian soil. They did this despite widely available information indicating the serious nature of human rights violations occurring in the CIA-led rendition programme. Abu Zubaydah was transferred by extraordinary rendition from Lithuanian territory to detention in an undisclosed facility, from where he was later transferred to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he is being held indefinitely.
The Telegraph reports that a previous investigation from Lithuanian investigators into secret US bases two years ago had proven the existence of the two sites in the country, but failed to prove that prisoners were kept or tortured there. One base was found to exist in a former boarding house and another in a former riding school.
The case was closed, and despite new evidence provided last month by Amnesty International and other non-governmental groups, the Lithuanian government has refused to reopen the case. Interights hopes the action at the European Court of Human Rights will compel the case to reopen.
Details of the bases in Lithuania were first revealed by ABC News. Officials told reporters that Lithuania had agreed were happy to have the sites in order to “have [the American government’s] ear”.
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