European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rules Lithuania allowed ‘inhuman’ treatment of alleged 9/11 suspect by CIA Strasbourg court says interrogation in secret location broke human rights laws

Lithuania broke European human rights laws by allowing the CIA to subject an alleged 9/11 suspect to “inhuman treatment” in a secret interrogation centre in the Baltic country, the European court of human rights has ruled.

The court said Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi raised multiple complaints of torture, ill treatment and unacknowledged detention in 2005-2006 when he was held at a secret facility in Lithuania run by the CIA. Hawsawi is now held in Guantánamo Bay on suspicion of being a facilitator and financial manager of al-Qaida.

While held in Lithuania, he experienced an extremely harsh detention regime, according to the press release, including solitary confinement, the continuous use of leg shackles and exposure to noise and light.

“The cumulative effects of such a detention regime had amounted to inhuman treatment within the meaning of the [European] convention [on human rights], which the Lithuanian authorities had enabled by cooperating with the CIA,” the release said.

Asked for comment, the Lithuanian embassy in Washington pointed to an article published by the Baltic News Service quoting Lithuania’s justice ministry as saying Lithuania would comply with the court’s decision to award Hawsawi €100,000 ($108,750) in compensation.

The court said it gained key information from a US Senate panel report from 2014 that said the CIA’s interrogation of al-Qaida terrorism suspects in secret prisons was more brutal than policymakers were told and in some cases amounted to torture that failed to generate effective intelligence.