“This judgement is of great significance on national as well as international level. It is a huge step forward in protecting human rights Lithuania.”
– Mėta Adutavičiūtė, HRMI Advocacy Officer
Proceedings initiated: 2013
Proceedings closed: not closed yet
Case in brief: one of the CIA Extraordinary Rendition Programme’s victims might have been held in Lithuania
Facts of the case:
Mustafa al-Hawsawi is a Saudi national who was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on 1 March 2003. He was held in secret CIA detention for the next three-and-a-half years, before being transferred to military detention in Guantnamo Bay in September 2006, where he is still being held. The US Government alleges that al-Hawsawi is a ‘senior al-Qaida member who supported al-Qaeda’s terrorist network as a facilitator, financial manager, and media committee member’, and who also supported the movement and funding of the 9/11 hijackers into the US.
The publicly available evidence indicates that al-Hawsawi was one of the so-called “high-value detainees” subjectedto treatment amounting to torture and detained in different locations (including, allegedly, Lithuania), within the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) Programme from 2003 until 2006.
In September 2013, Human Rights Monitoring Institute and REDRESS submitted a complaint with prosecutors calling for an investigation into the allegations. On 2 October 2013 REDRESS and HRMI were informed of the Prosecutor’s decision not to open an investigation on the basis of the complaint. On 8 October 2013 REDRESS and HRMI filed an appeal against this decision. At first instance, the appeal was dismissed, but a further appeal was upheld by the Vilnius Regional Court on 28 January 2014.
Vilnius Regional Court found that prosecutors hastily refused to open an inquiry. The court believed that before making a categorical conclusion that there was no crime committed, the prosecutor should have tried to question al- Hawsawi, currently kept in detention in Guantanamo, and send requests to US institutions.
Follow-up to the case:
In February 2014, the General Prosecutor’s Office opened the pre-trial investigation with respect to the circusmtances indicated in the HRMI and REDRESS request. The investigation is pending, however al-Hawsawi was not granted a status of the victim in the case.