Lithuanian prosecutor declines to reopen secret prison investigation, saying evidence that he has not seen has “no significance”

October 21, 2011

History repeated itself today, as the Lithuanian prosecutor chose, late on a Friday afternoon, to announce that he would not be reopening his curtailed investigation into the presence of CIA prison sites on Lithuanian territory.

His first such announcement had been on Friday 14 January, when he surprised observers by the sudden closure of the pre-trial investigation.

Defending his decision, the prosecutor announced: “The information provided by NGOs was evaluated together with the circumstances established during the pre-trial investigation, and it has been decided that it is not essential and has no significance to the resolution of the case.”

The statement hides that fact that the prosecutor in fact never saw the evidence offered to him by Reprieve.

In September Reprieve revealed several shortcomings in the prosecutor’s investigation, showing how key elements of contracting, routing and even an entire plane had been overlooked. Material gathered by Reprieve, and offered to the prosecutor in a confidential dossier, shows:

    how planes flying into Lithuania were subcontracted by Computer Sciences Corporation, the same company that contracted Richmor Aviation to perform renditions for the US Government, as recently revealed court documents demonstrate; how previous investigations in Lithuania failed to spot the arrival of N724CL, en route from Morocco, a notorious secret prison site; how previous investigations had failed to show which other CIA planes had also passed through Morocco on their way into Lithuania between 2004 and 2006

Reprieve’s Director, Clive Stafford Smith, wrote to the prosecutor on 6 October, offering to provide a dossier of this material to him on condition that he agree to respect its confidentiality. The prosecutor failed to acknowledge this request, or the letter, and therefore never took advantage of the offered material.

The prosecutor’s original decision to terminate his investigation blamed lack of NGO transparency. His new decision suggests that this was merely a smokescreen designed to hide his unwillingness to seek the truth of what occurred in Lithuania between 2004 and 2006.