Lithuania orders probe of CIA torture
By Brett Wilkins
November 8, 2014
Vilnius - A Lithuanian court has ordered an investigation of the torture of a Saudi Arabian terrorism suspect by Central Intelligence Agency operatives at a secret prison in the small Baltic nation.
Amnesty International reports the Vilnius Regional Court has ordered a probe into the torture of Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who was sent to Lithuania via extraordinary rendition after being captured in Pakistan and handed over to US authorities in 2003. Al-Hawsawi claims he was tortured by CIA operatives at a secret prison, known as a "black site," in the village of Antaviliai between 2004 and 2008. It has been previously reported by major corporate media outlets that the CIA established a secret torture prison at an exclusive horseback riding academy in Antaviliai.
In addition to torture, al-Hawsawi accused the United States of illegal international transfer and enforced disappearance. The Vilnius court found al-Hawsawi's claims involve violations of the Lithuanian constitution, as well as international law, and that he is entitled to a full investigation. The court added that the Prosecutor General's past refusal to launch an investigation was "groundless." Abu Zubaydah, the Palestinian who allegedly made travel arrangements for al-Qaeda terrorists, including the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people, also claims he was secretly imprisoned by the CIA in Lithuania, but the Lithuanian Prosecutor General also refused to investigate his case. Abu Zubaydah, who was subjected to the interrupted drowning torture commonly called waterboarding 83 times, has a case pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in which he is suing Poland for complicity in US torture. Numerous Eastern European Nations that were formerly part of or controlled by the Soviet Union but were then admitted to NATO after the Cold War offered to cooperate with the United States as it carried out its war against terrorism, even as many of the nations of what former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called "Old Europe" balked at participating in actions that were in clear violation of domestic and international law. Still, around a quarter of the world's nations offered either open or covert support for America's extraordinary rendition program, under which terrorism suspects, many of them innocent men and boys, were kidnapped and flown to third countries for interrogation and, often, torture. Some of the documented abuses terrorism detainees suffered at the hands of their American captors include: homicide, rape of men and women, imprisonment of innocent family members of wanted men as bargaining chips, brutal beatings, denial of medical treatment, interrupted drowning (waterboarding), solitary confinement, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation, force-feeding, exposure to (sometimes lethal) temperature extremes, exposure to insects, blasting with deafeningly loud music, sexual humiliation, menacing and attacking with dogs, shackling in painful 'stress positions,' wall slamming, death and rape threats against detainees and their innocent relatives, and 'Palestinian crucifixion.' Amnesty International praised the Lithuanian court's decision, saying it "has set an example for all of Europe and the USA by upholding the rule of law and recognizing that victims of torture and enforced disappearance at the hands of the CIA and European agents have an absolute right to a thorough investigation."