Lithuania Denies Existence Of Secret CIA Prison Before Human Rights Court

A watch tower overlooks the area near the Polish intelligence school just outside of Stare Kiejkuty, Poland, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2005. The installation has become the focal point of allegations of secret CIA prisons in Poland. The United States has denied access of information concerning extraordinary rendition to UK MPs. ( AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

A watch tower overlooks the area near the Polish intelligence school and the alleged site of a secret CIA prison. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski)

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.

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