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US report proves Lithuania hosted CIA 'black site': lawyer

AFP
AFP
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 4:01 PM GMT

A US Senate report proves that Lithuania hosted a secret CIA jail for terror suspects a decade ago, a lawyer for a Saudi-born Guantanamo detainee claimed Friday.

In a file submitted to the European Court of Human Rights, Helen Duffy said the 2014 American findings leave "no plausible room for doubt" that the Baltic state was involved in the Central Intelligence Agency programme.

"Simply on the basis of the information in the Senate report itself, there are numerous clear indications of agreements reached between Lithuanian officials and the CIA, and of large sums of money changing hands in exchange for support," she said in the application.

Duffy insisted that the NATO and EU member is "responsible for the black site detention and torture" of her client Abu Zubaydah on its soil a decade ago.

The Palestinian is currently being held in a US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Lithuanian prosecutors this year reopened an investigation into the CIA prison allegations.

The case against Lithuania was sent to the Strasbourg-based court in 2011, but Duffy said last year's US report by Democratic senators produced further evidence.

The report did not explicitly name European countries involved, but human rights activists said Lithuania hosted a lock-up described as detention centre "Violet" that operated in 2005-6.

Zubaydah, considered the number three in Al-Qaeda's hierarchy by US authorities, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002.

His lawyers claim he was held in secret sites in Morocco, Poland, Lithuania and Thailand, then moved to Guantanamo in September 2006.

But Lithuanian lawmaker Arvydas Anusauskas, who led a 2009 parliamentary inquiry, insists the redacted Senate report does not draw any conclusions regarding Zubaydah's presence in Lithuania.

"I would say that (the Senate report) maybe proves the fact that the detention site was in Lithuania. But it does not clearly say who was kept there," Anusauskas told AFP.

Last July, the European court ruled that neighbouring Poland abetted the unlawful imprisonment and torture of Zubaydah and Saudi citizen Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002-2003.

Zubaydah is the second terror suspect alleged to have been illegally held in Lithuania, after Saudi terror suspect Mustafa al-Hawsawi.

The US embassy in Vilnius declined comment on Friday.


© 2015 AFP
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