Lithuania investigating CIA prison claim

26th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Last week, ABC television in the United States, citing unnamed ex-CIA officials, named Lithuania as one country that hosted secret CIA prisons for holding high-value Al-Qaeda suspects.

Brussels -- The Lithuanian parliament will launch an inquiry into allegations that the Baltic state hosted a secret CIA prison to hold terror suspects, President Dalia Grybauskaite announced Tuesday.

"I do not have at this point any confirmation of that, but Lithuania will be investigating," Grybauskaite told reporters in Brussels.

"Already the parliament is declaring a special committee which will begin investigating the case. I can only regret that Lithuania's name is in this kind of allegations -- that's my personal opinion," she added during a joint press conference with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

Last week, ABC television in the United States, citing unnamed ex-CIA officials, named Lithuania as one country that hosted secret CIA prisons for holding high-value Al-Qaeda suspects.

Grybauskaite said Tuesday: "It will be for us to prove if it is true or not."

On Friday the Lithuanian foreign ministry had denied outright the existence of a US prison on its territory.

The ABC report also named Poland and Romania as EU countries which housed secret CIA prisons.

The governments in both countries have denied the claims.

Barroso, standing next to his Lithuanian guest, stressed the need for "independent impartial investigations to establish the truth of such claims."

The US Department of Justice on Monday revealed details of a report by a CIA inspector general showing that interrogators at secret CIA prisons threatened to kill the children of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Other detainees were threatened with the rape of family members, execution, shooting and torture.

Barroso, while making no reference to the United States, said that "anti-terrorism activities must be conducted with full respect for fundamental rights, the principle of rule of law and transparency.

"The firmer our guarantees that we show respect for fundamental rights, the better our chances of making effective advances in the fight against terrorism," he added.

According to the ABC report the secret facility in Lithuania was located outside the capital Vilnius and housed eight men until it was closed in 2005.

Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty has called on Lithuania to investigate the claim and for all countries involved to come clean.

"The time has now come for Europe to account in full for its involvement in this shameful episode," he said.

"An unjustified use of the ‘state secrets’ doctrine should not act as a barrier to full disclosure of what occurred on the outskirts of Vilnius. Denial and evasion are no longer credible: European countries must come clean."

AFP/Expatica

0 Comments To This Article