A human rights lawyer, who sent complaints to the UN against Lithuania for allowing the CIA to host secret prisons on its soil, is sure he will see the country’s leadership indicted. He talks exclusively to Eyes On Events.
In May of this year, Lithuania and Romania were found responsible for knowingly allowing the torture of prisoners at secret CIA facilities on their territories, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled.
The ECHR decision referred to the cases of Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, both of whom are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
The two governments will have to pay €100,000 ($117,000) to each man, the court decided. Lithuania and Romania have three months to file an appeal, should they wish to contest the ruling.
Professor Stanislovas Tomas, a human rights lawyer, filed complaints against Lithuania to the UN Human Rights Committee. He said the ruling is due on July 26. The lawyer insists that the investigation in Lithuania has already lasted eight years and during these years the Lithuanian prosecution failed to even identify the victims and the criminals.
“The European Court of Human Rights says that Abu Zubaydah is a victim and UN says that Mustafa Al-Hawsawi is a victim. So Lithuania failed to identify the victims and failed to identify the criminals,” he concluded. Mustafa al-Hawsawi, another Saudi citizen, claims to have been kept at a ‘black site' in Lithuania once.
Tomas believes that then-Lithuanian president Rolandas Paksas was impeached back in 2004 only because he refused to host such CIA prisons on Lithuanian soil. His successor Valdas Adamkus who claimed to have been the moral authority in the state, gave the green light to such secret facilities.
The human rights lawyer states that both Adamkus and Arvydas Pocius, the current Chief of Defense of Lithuania, should be declared “suspects” in the case. He has no doubt that those complicit in the hosting of CIA secret prisons will be prosecuted. “The problem is when,” Tomas stressed.
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Tomas assumes that the greatest obstacle to the development of human rights in Lithuania is that it denies “the binding nature” of the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The lawyer claims that there are secret tapes on which Lithuanian judges are heard talking to each other and complaining that the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė sent her advisor to talk to judges in order to convince them to take one or another decision. “That’s a public tape, it was made secretly. This is clear pressure,” he stressed.
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