Lawyer of 9/11 suspect pushing for information about alleged secret prison.
tol.org 24 May 2016
The case of a Saudi inmate suspected of involvement in the 9/11 U.S. terror attacks could end up shedding light on whether a CIA “black site” used to interrogate suspects actually existed in Lithuania, AFP reports.
Captured in 2003, Mustafa al-Hawsawi was held in secret detention centers, human rights organizations say, before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay almost a decade ago. U.S. authorities have accused al-Hawsawi of being a member of al Qaeda and helping with the financing of the 9/11 attacks.
His lawyer Ingrida Botyriene said on 23 May that she had asked the Lithuanian authorities to grant him “victim status,” which would allow his legal team access to the results of an official investigation conducted after the release of the 2014 U.S. Senate report on CIA treatment of prisoners. Botyriene claims that al-Hawsawi was illegally detained in a CIA secret prison in Lithuania, and that the U.S. Senate report backs up her allegations.
However, prosecutors deny the existence of evidence proving that al-Hawsawi was tortured on Lithuanian territory and thus able to gain the recognition of being a victim.
"Procedural decisions in a pre-trial investigation cannot be based on assumptions or interpretations," said spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General's Office Rita Stundiene.
Stundiene refused to give further information, on the grounds that parts of the file were classified as state secret or official secrets.
According to the Baltic Course, lawyers for Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi-born Palestinian national, say he was also held in Lithuania and have initiated a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
• Amnesty International (AI) had asked US authorities to provide medical care for al-Hawsawi, for ailments that allegedly resulted because of the torture he underwent in CIA custody. The Pentagon denied AI claims that the inmate only received minimal treatment.
• Poland and Romania allegedly hosted “black sites". Bucharest has denied the accusations, while Warsaw has claimed that the United States had rejected four requests to assist Poland’s own investigation into the secret prison charges. But, after losing an appeal at the ECHR, Poland agreed to pay reparations to Zubaydah for being held and tortured at a CIA-run prison in Poland
• AI has urged Lithuania to reopen an investigation on prisons located on its territory. The inquiry was closed in 2010 on a lack of evidence that prisoners were detained illegally.
Compiled by Ioana Caloianu
Talk of CIA Black Site in Lithuania Resurfaces