Reprieve calls on Lithuanian authorities to investigate new allegations that torture victim Abu Zubaydah was illegally imprisoned at a CIA ‘black site’ in Lithuania

September 20, 2010

In a letter to the President and Prosecutor General of Lithuania, Reprieve has requested a full and thorough investigation into allegations that Lithuanian officials were complicit in the secret detention of ‘high value detainee’ Abu Zubaydah between 2004 and 2006.

According to Lithuania’s Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence, officials from Lithuania’s state security department assisted in the construction of a CIA prison in Lithuania.

Reprieve has now learned from a highly reliable source that one such prisoner was Abu Zubaydah, a detainee once falsely thought to be a member of al Qaeda and the organization’s chief of operations. Mr Zubaydah suffered sustained torture throughout his years in US secret detention, including being water-boarded 83 times in one month, and was used as an official guinea pig for the Agency’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods.

Reprieve is certain that at some point between his arrival in Morocco in 2004 and his arrival in Guantánamo in 2006, Mr Zubaydah was detained in Lithuania. The intensity and frequency of Mr Zubaydah’s torture make it vital that the sites of his abuse are exposed, if only to prevent it happening again.

Clara Gutteridge, Senior Investigator at Reprieve said: “Abu Zubaydah was held for over six years in secret prisons around the world, during which time he was subjected to horrific torture. Although the US has still failed to mount a credible case against him, he is still being held without charge at Guantanamo Bay. The Lithuanian authorities must immediately investigate exactly how long Abu Zubaydah was held in Lithuania, who he was held with, and what was done to him.”

Despite the horrors inflicted upon Mr Zubaydah, US authorities were unable to extract information of any real value. It now appears that his significance was vastly exaggerated: both the Bush and the Obama administrations have conceded that he was not a member of al Qaeda and had no advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

Notes for Editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA. Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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