Romania and Lithuania hosted CIA secret jails or ‘black sites’ to torture two terror suspects violating the basic tenets of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, a court in France ruled on Thursday.
The court ordered Lithuania and Romania to pay $117,000 to each victim.
The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (pictured) said one of the torture victims, Palestinian Abu Zabaydah, was caught by the US authorities in Pakistan in 2002 as a key al-Qaida terror suspect linked to 9/11 attacks.
The other, a Saudi national Abd al Rahim Al Nashiri, was accused of plotting a 2002 attack on MV Limburg, a French oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden, and the 2000 attack on USS Cole in Yemen.
Al Nashiri was detained and tortured in a CIA secret jail in Romania between September 2003 and October 2005.
The court told Romania to investigate and punish the perpetrators involved in the abuses.
Romania, which has denied hosting such jails, did not immediately respond to the court ruling.
Al Nashiri’s lawyer, Amrit Singh, described the ruling as “a sharp rebuke to Romania’s shameful attempts” to conceal its ‘black sites’.
Zabaydah was detained in a CIA secret jail in Lituania between February 2005 and March 2006. The Baltic country allowed Zabaydah to be moved to another CIA detention site in Afghanistan where he was exposed to more tortures.
Both the victims are currently detained at Guantanamo Bay, a US base in Cuba. They moved the court in 2011 and 2012 alleging they were illegally held at the CIA secret jails from 2004 to 2006.
A 2014 US Senate report found that Zubaydah and Al Nashiri were subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the ‘dark sites’ including waterboarding.
The court included this report in its documentary evidence.
It concluded that Romania and Lithuania violated Article 3 (prohibiting torture), Article 5 (rights to liberty and security), Article 8 (respect for private life) and Article 13 (right to an effective legal remedy).
Lithuanian authorities said they may appeal the court’s decision and investigate the claims again.
Romania and Lithuania have three months to request appeals.