Lithuania has reportedly paid $113,000 in compensation to a man subjected to torture by the CIA at a secret location outside the capital Vilnius.
Zayn Al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, who is reportedly still held in the US-controlled Guantanamo prison on Cuba, came to be known as the “forever prisoner” due to his two-decade-long detention by the US, despite never being charged with a crime.
As reported by bne IntelliNews, Lithuania and Romania hosted CIA detention centres known as “black sites,” where terrorism suspects were held illegally and subject to torture and other violations of human rights, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said in 2018.
The court also ruled that the Lithuanian and Romanian authorities were aware of the existence of “black sites”, something Vilnius and Bucharest have denied.
In May 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Lithuanian government to pay compensation for violating European laws banning the use of torture.
Though the money has now been transferred to a bank account, Abu Zubaydah, 50, cannot receive it because he remains in Guantanamo Bay prison and his assets are still frozen by the US treasury. A similar freeze on assets was lifted two years ago by the UN.
Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers believe it is highly unlikely that Lithuania would have made the compensation payment without approval from Washington.
“The situation is a lot less incommunicado when you pay €100,000 to someone and the whole world knows about it,” Mark Denbeaux, one of Abu Zubaydah’s legal team based in the US, told The Guardian.
The pay-out comes just months before the 20-year anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay prison. Over the 20 years of its existence, only 12 Guantanamo detainees have been charged, and only two have been convicted by the military commissions.
As reported by bne IntelliNews, Lithuania's State Security Department (VSD) is selling the building in Vilnius that may have housed a secret CIA prison where Americans allegedly held several 9/11 suspects.