Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

22 December 2009

Lithuania admits existence of secret prison

Lithuania admits existence of secret prison
For the first time a European government has admitted that a secret “black site” existed on its territory, after a Lithuanian parliamentary committee concluded that a CIA secret prison operated in Lithuania during the US-led “war on terror”.

“Confirmation of the existence of a secret prison in Lithuania marks a modern low point for human rights protection in Europe,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism in Europe.

“But the Lithuanian inquiry signals a turning point in the quest for the truth about what role European states played in helping the USA in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks. Other European governments should take note and commit to full investigations of similar serious allegations.”   

The Lithuanian parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence issued a report stating that officials from the Lithuanian State Security Department assisted in constructing a secret prison for terrorist suspects on the country’s territory.

Many detainees held at such secret sites were victims of enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment by US agents, often with the cooperation and assistance of foreign governments.

The committee concluded that CIA airplanes had landed in Lithuania without border checks and claimed that Lithuanian State Security Department officials had failed to notify the president or the prime minister in violation of Lithuanian law.

“The Lithuanian government should have known what its own agencies were doing and is ultimately responsible for the secret prison and any human rights violations that may have taken place there," said Julia Hall.  

“The inquiry’s findings are only a first step toward accountability. The investigation in Lithuania should continue and those persons responsible for any involvement in the secret site must be identified and prosecuted.”

Poland and Romania have also been named by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe as allegedly having hosted secret detention facilities for the CIA.

“It is high time that European governments review and tighten civilian control over intelligence and security agencies. It is not enough for governments to claim that they did not know what their security apparatus was up to,” said Julia Hall.

Read More

Lithuania secret prison inquiry must set an example (News, 17 December 2009)

Issue

Armed Groups 
Detention 
Prison Conditions 
Torture And Ill-treatment 

Country

Lithuania 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

Campaigns

Security with Human Rights 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

24 November 2014

A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and... Read more »

26 November 2014

In 2010, Rogelio Amaya was violently arrested by Mexican police officers and tortured into confessing to a crime. His story exposed the shocking use of torture that pervades... Read more »

23 November 2014

The Philippine authorities are running out of time to ensure that their response to the Maguindanao massacre does not become a mockery of justice, Amnesty International... Read more »

24 November 2014

Allegations that the UK government sanctioned the use of torture and ill-treatment in Northern Ireland in the 1970s should be re-examined by the European Court of Human... Read more »

25 November 2014

The UAE authorities have again shown their intolerance for dissent by handing down a three-year prison sentence and hefty fine today to a 25-year-old man whose only “offence”... Read more »