Amnesty urges Lithuania to reopen investigation into secret CIA prisons

[JURIST] Lithuania must reopen the investigation [press release] into secret CIA prisons [JURIST news archive] in light of new evidence, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] insisted Thursday. AI cited evidence of rendition flights of Abu Zubaydah [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] in 2005 revealed earlier this year by Reprieve [advocacy website], a London-based human rights organization. AI counter-terrorism and human rights expert, Julia Hall, pressed authorities:

The Lithuanian authorities should not hide behind the blanket claim of "state secrecy" to prevent allegations of disappearance and torture from being properly investigated. No one has been held accountable for helping the USA to construct these secret sites or for any violations that may have occurred in them. ... The Lithuanian authorities must reopen their investigation into these operations, including the activities of US officials, and hold accountable those responsible for complicity in all abuses that have taken place.
Deputy prosecutor general, Darius Raulusaitis, indicated prosecutors would decide whether the new evidence was significant enough [AP report] to restart the investigation within a few weeks [Reuters report].

In January, human rights groups pressed for Lithuania's investigation to be reopened, calling the decision to stop the investigation premature [JURIST report]. 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 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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