Rights groups urge Lithuania to reopen CIA secret prison investigation

[JURIST] Human rights groups are calling for Lithuania to reopen its investigation into whether the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] had a secret prison in the country. Statements from Amnesty International (AI) and Reprieve [press releases] say that Friday's decision to stop the investigation [Baltic Times report] was premature. AI says that it has a "dossier of information relevant to the investigation" it was planning to send to investigators this week, and will now do so along with a letter requesting that the criminal probe be reopened. Northwestern Law professor Joe Margulies [academic profile], counsel for an alleged CIA torture victim, said in the Reprieve press release that "[t]he Prosecutor is trying to deflect blame for the failure of his investigation onto NGOs and the media. It's ironic that an official investigation into a secret torture facility should claim to be thwarted because the media is insufficiently transparent."

In 2009, the Lithuanian Parliament National Security Committee reported that the CIA had established secret prisons for al Qaeda suspects in the Baltic country. Lawmakers demanded the investigation [JURIST report] after ABC News reported that former CIA officials said that Lithuania provided the CIA with facilities for a secret prison for high-value al Qaeda suspects in order to improve relations with the US. The parliamentary committee concluded that the Lithuanian State Security Department provided the CIA with two secret facilities, but it is unclear whether either facility was used to interrogate detainees. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas [official profile] resigned [JURIST report] last January in the midst of a dispute with President Dalia Grybauskaite [official profile] over whether the prisons were in the country. Grybauskaite has publicly said that she believes there were prisoners held in Lithuania, but Usackas has denied this.

 

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