Why this story matters:
The European Court of Human Right's decisions against Lithuania and Romania confirmed a pattern established previously in several high-profile cases of detainees tortured in CIA black sites in Europe.
According to Amnesty International, US courts have refused to hear CIA cases, and there has been no accountability for human rights violations on the other side of the Atlantic. However, within the European Union there is a general consensus that such practices are deeply incompatible with the core values of the European community.
At the time of the torture, Lithuania was already a member of the EU (Romania wasn't yet). But in both cases, the evidence of complicity with CIA's torture casts a serious shadow on these countries' capacity to protect human rights on their territories when a powerful ally requests otherwise.
Details from the story:
- The claimant against Lithuania, known as Abu Zubaydah, is a stateless Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia. He allegedly worked as an al-Qaeda recruiter.
- CIA subjected its captured suspects to hooding, torture, extensive use of leg shackles and other torture techniques.
- The ECHR established that the secret prison operated in Lithuania from February 2005 to March 2006. Local authorities were aware of secret transfer of suspects and the likelihood of torture.
- Lithuania is identified as "Location Violet" in CIA's declassified report of 2014.
- Lithuania denies allowing a torture site to operate and is considering an appeal.