Lithuania denied in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the country hosted to a secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prison, where terrorist suspects allegedly were detained, the Lithuanian deputy justice minister said Thursday.
VILNIUS — European Court of Human RightsIn August 2009, ABC News made a claim that Lithuania provided the CIA with a building near Vilnius to detain and possibly interrogate eight al-Qaeda members during the period 2004-2006.
“We told the ECHR judges that no secret CIA detention center exists in Lithuania,” Paulius Griciunas told a national radio station.
In November 2009, the Lithuanian parliamentary committee on National Security and Defense conducted an investigation and concluded that there were conditions for the existence of a secret CIA prison, adding that in 2005 and 2006 the CIA planes that landed in the country were not inspected by Customs. The United States did not cooperate with the Committee on the issue and so the question of whether al-Qaeda militants were ever transferred into Lithuania remains unresolved.
Griciunas said that during the period in question the United States brought communications equipment for an intelligence facility located near Vilnius.
On Wednesday, the ECHR held a public hearing in the lawsuit brought by Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah against Lithuania. Abu Zubaydah claims that he was subjected to inhuman conditions and torture in a secret CIA prison in Lithuania. Zubaydah is accused of involvement in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.