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

18 January 2011

Lithuania must reopen CIA secret prison investigation

Lithuania must reopen CIA secret prison investigation

The investigation surrounding the existence of secret prisons run by the US Central Agency (CIA) in Lithuania must not be closed until all avenues of evidence have been thoroughly pursued, Amnesty International has said.  

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General recently closed the investigation into whether State Security Department (SSD) officials had colluded with the CIA to create and operate the secret sites on 14 January 2011.

“Closing this investigation is premature”, said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights in Europe.

“By shuttering the investigation before all the evidence has been gathered and all lines of inquiry pursued, the prosecutor cuts off a process that had the potential to hold people accountable for serious human rights violations.”

A Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry issued a report in December 2009 concluding that the secret prisons existed and that SSD officials should be investigated for “abuse of power” under Lithuanian law.

When it closed the investigation last week, the Lithuanian prosecutor said SSD officials had committed “disciplinary offenses” by failing to notify top government officials of the operation, but that a statute of limitations on the investigation of the SSD had run out.

An Amnesty International delegation met prosecutors conducting the investigation into the secret sites in November 2010  to present a new report titled Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Renditions and Secret Detention. The organization’s delegation was assured by the prosecutor that the investigation would continue and at that time the prosecutor made no mention of a pending state of limitations.

Amnesty International has since prepared a dossier of information relevant to the investigation that it planned to send to the prosecutors this week. The dossier will still be sent along with a letter encouraging the prosecutor to pursue the lines of inquiry suggested by Amnesty International.

“It is abundantly clear from our meetings in Lithuania that there is a lot of evidence about the Lithuanian sites that has yet to be examined by the prosecutors”, said Julia Hall.

“The investigation should continue until that information has been assessed. The parliamentary inquiry and subsequent criminal investigation set a powerful example for the rest of the region that accountability for rendition and secret detention is possible. Lithuania has a legal obligation to investigate these allegations thoroughly and impartially. That can’t be done unless the prosecutor doggedly pursues every bit of evidence, which has not happened in this case.”

Read More

Europe: Open secret: Mounting evidence of Europe's complicity in rendition and secret detention (Executive Summary, 15 November 2010)

Issue

Detention 

Country

Lithuania 
USA 

Region

Americas 

Campaigns

Security with Human Rights 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

23 October 2014

The Netherlands’ repeated attempts to argue for the forcible return of Somalis to areas controlled by the Islamist armed group al-Shabaab exposes them to grave risks of human... Read more »

17 October 2014

Prisoner of conscience and torture victim Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo has been released from prison after five years in pre-trial detention, in a move that is welcome but... Read more »

22 October 2014

The release from prison of one of Viet Nam’s most high profile prisoners of conscience is a positive step, but authorities must now free the scores of other peaceful... Read more »

20 October 2014

An Amnesty International investigation into allegations of execution-style and other deliberate killings by pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces has found evidence... Read more »

17 October 2014

Testimonies gathered by Amnesty International indicate that Egyptian security forces used excessive force to crack down on recent student demonstrations at Alexandria... Read more »