Saudi seeks victim status in Lithuania CIA 'black site' probe

A lawyer for a Saudi terror suspect held in Guantanamo said Monday she has requested "victim status" for him in Lithuania, claiming he may have been tortured at a secret CIA jail in the Baltic State.

Mustafa al-Hawsawi, 47, was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and faces the death penalty if found guilty of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

Rights groups have accused the CIA of operating a network of secret jails in allied countries to detain and torture Al-Qaeda terror suspects.

A view over the fence into the minimum security section of Camp Delta on April 24, 2007 on the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

A view over the fence into the minimum security section of Camp Delta on April 24, 2007 on the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ©Paul J. Richards (AFP/File)

Lawyer Ingrida Botyriene said a 2014 US Senate report proved allegations that Hawsawi was illegally held in Lithuania before being sent to the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2006.

"If it's true that the (Lithuanian) site was set up, then it is likely that there were individuals who were victims," Botyriene told AFP.

The victim status would allow Hawsawi's legal team access to material in the Lithuanian investigation into the alleged CIA "black site" in the EU and NATO member state.

She filed the request in a Vilnius court on Friday, claiming Hawsawi was a "high-value detainee" who was subject to special interrogation techniques that are considered torture by the European Court of Human Rights.

But prosecution spokeswoman Rita Stundiene told AFP that "no objective circumstances were established" that Hawsawi had experienced "any moral, property or physical damage in the crimes investigated".

Lithuanian prosecutors reopened a probe into the alleged CIA interrogation centre after the release of the explosive US Senate report detailing US torture of detainees.

Rights groups claim the CIA used a converted horse-riding school near Vilnius as a secret prison known as "Violet" in 2005-2006.

The site, which was visited by EU lawmakers four years ago, now belongs to the Lithuanian intelligence agency.

The US report said the "black site" was closed down after officials in Lithuania refused to admit Hawsawi to a local hospital.

He is the second terror suspect alleged to have been illegally detained in Lithuania, after top Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah who is also being held at Guantanamo.

In 2009, a Lithuanian parliamentary enquiry identified two sites used by the CIA as secret jails.

But it said that despite records showing CIA aircraft landed in Lithuania, it was not possible to confirm if the suspects were actually brought into the country.

In 2014, the European court ruled that neighbouring Poland abetted the unlawful imprisonment and torture of Zubaydah and another Saudi citizen Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002-2003.

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