Monday, 26 October 2009

Lithuania Investigates CIA “Black Site” Torture Prison

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CIA “black site"The Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) is expected to approve this week President Dalia Grybauskaite's demand for a full investigation of allegations of a CIA “black site” prison in the Baltic nation's capital in 2004-05, according to various news reports.

Responding to an report claiming the secret CIA prison existed in Vilnius from September 2004 to November 2005, President Grybauskaite said: "If this is true, Lithuania has to clean up, accept responsibility, apologize, and promise that it will never happen again." The CIA “black site” prisons were the locations of some of the most extreme forms of torture under the CIA extraordinary rendition program.

The report noted many specifics of the prison in its initial report, including the CIA's airplane identification numbers and flight logs. The Lithuanian Seimas had issued an initial denial when the allegation first came out. “The Lithuanian Government denies all rumors and interpretations about alleged secret prison that supposedly functioned on Lithuanian soil," the earlier statement said. But last week President Grybauskaite's call for a new investigation was agreed to by the Seimas' National Security and Defense Committee, which approved a resolution to initiate another investigation.

"The West is waiting for answers from us,” Grybauskaite told the press, “and will look at us with suspicion as long as Lithuania cannot clear away the shadows which hang above Lithuania or, if it is confirmed, to take responsibility and to apologize to the international community for human rights (abuses)."

Back in 2007, the Council of Europe concluded, after an investigation led by Swiss Senator Dick Marty, that it had “revealed the existence of a 'spider’s web' of illegal transfers of detainees woven by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which Council of Europe member states were involved, and expressed suspicions that secret places of detention might exist in Poland and Romania. It now considers as established with a high degree of probability that such secret detention centres operated by the CIA have existed for some years in these two countries, though does not rule out the possibility that secret CIA detentions may also have occurred in other Council of Europe member states.”

Other press reports have suggested "black sites" also existed in Kosovo and Czech Republic, as well as several North African and Middle Eastern nations.

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