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The Lithuanian government told the European Court of Human Rights in a suspected secret CIA prison case that what CIA-linked aircraft transported to Lithuania a decade ago was not prisoners, but communications equipment for an intelligence support center that was being set up close to Vilnius.

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Lithuania says CIA flights were not related to detained prisoners
© Reuters/Scanpix

"It was communications equipment for a joint technical support project carried out by the State Security Department (VSD) with partners," Deputy Justice Minister Paulius Griciunas said, referring to CIA-linked flights that had landed in Lithuania in 2005 and 2006.

The deputy minister told the court that "no secret CIA detention center was in operation in Lithuania".

According to him, the building in Antaviliai, some 15 kilometers from Vilnius, was "an intelligence support center", but it "was never used for its original purpose" and was later reconverted into a VSD training center.

The Lithuanian official said that another project mentioned in investigations, a building in Sierakausko Street in Vilnius, was used for "exfiltration of secret collaborators", that is for moving them to a safe environment.

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday held a public hearing in a case of Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia, versus Lithuania.

The lawyers of the 45-year-old man, who is suspected of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and is now held at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, say that he was held in a secret CIA detention facility in Lithuania in 2005 and 2006 and that his treatment "amounted to torture".

Griciunas told the court that "the applicant was never detained on Lithuania's territory".

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