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Lithuania's law enforcement has no substantial evidence of a Saudi Arabian citizen suspected of organizing the 9/11 terrorist attacks being brought to a secret CIA detention center in Lithuania, a Vilnius court ruled on Tuesday.

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Lithuanian courts dismiss Saudi's claim to victim status for CIA imprisonment
© Reuters/Scanpix

The judge rejected the plea from Mustafa al Hawsawi to list him as victim, saying that the plea included conflicting information and presumptions.

"In this case, there are no reasons to act in accordance to the declassified, i.e., non-specific information that emerges in public, consequently, we cannot list a person as a victim by this information alone," the court said in its finding.

According to the ruling, the current investigation did not reveal any factual evidence of unlawful transportation of Hawsawi, 47, across the Lithuanian border. No evidence to prove this was found in investigations abroad.

Lawyer Ingrida Botyrienė, representing the London-based non-governmental organization Redress, said the suspicions of Saudi Arabian citizen's detention in Lithuania were supported by the US Senate report and data collected by NGOs. She said she would appeal against the finding.

In her words, US institutions confirmed that al Hawsawi had been included in a special CIA detention and interrogation program as one of the “high-value detainees,” and interrogation methods applied were later recognized torture by the European Court of Human Rights.

The US government says that al Hawsawi was a member of the Al Qaeda organization and contributed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry in late 2009 identified two sites, one in Vilnius and the other close to the Lithuanian capital, that could have been used as detention facilities. The inquiry also found that several CIA-related flights had landed in Vilnius and Palanga between 2003 and 2006, but it did not answer the question of whether any terror suspects had been actually flown into the country.

MP Arvydas Anušauskas, who headed the inquiry, said that al Hawsawi was seeking the victim status to avoid the death sentence in the United States.

"They face death sentences, they seek to be listed as victims in countries of the European Union and want the decisions to have an effect upon the verdict in the United States," Anusauskas told BNS.

BNS
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