A parliamentary investigation concluded that Lithuanian officials co-operated in the construction of a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) secret prison in Lithuania during the US-led "war on terror". A new law banned materials from schools that might promote same-sex and other relationships. The UN Committee against Torture criticized the government for not incorporating the crime of torture into domestic law.
The authorities came under international scrutiny in August and November following allegations that up to eight terrorist suspects were held and questioned in secret by the CIA in 2004 and 2005 in a detention facility in Antaviliai, near Vilnius. A subsequent investigation by the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence reported in December that state security officials had assisted in constructing a secret prison for terrorist suspects on Lithuanian territory. However, the Committee did not establish that suspects were actually imprisoned and interrogated there. It concluded that CIA aircraft had landed without border checks and that security officials had failed to notify the President or the Prime Minister, in violation of domestic law. Human rights groups called for the investigation to continue and to determine whether human rights violations were committed in relation to the secret prison.
In July parliament adopted the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, despite a presidential veto in June. The law, to come into effect in March 2010, banned from schools, public places and the media any materials that "agitate for homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations" and could be viewed by children. The law was widely criticized as institutionalizing homophobia and violating the rights to freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination. The EU suggested it might infringe the Treaty on European Union, which provides sanctions against member states that violate "EU common values". No final parliamentary vote on a proposal to remove its discriminatory provisions had taken place by the end of the year.
Hearings being held today at the European Court of Human Rights in two crucial cases against Romania and Lithuania for complicity in the CIA-led rendition and secret detention programs represent a milestone in accountability, said Amnesty International.
On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.
International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.
REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA Head of state Dalia Grybauskaitė Head of government Algirdas Butkevičius (replaced Andrius Kubilius) A lack of accountability persisted over complicity in US-led rendition and secret detention programmes. …
Lithuania’s failure to investigate its role in the U.S.-led rendition program has forced an alleged victim of secret detention to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International said today.
Lithuania must immediately reinstate the criminal investigation into its involvement in the U.S.-led rendition and secret detention programs, documents developments since the authorities admitted that Lithuania hosted two secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detention facilities between 2002 and 2006.
The Lithuanian government has admitted its involvement in the US-led rendition and secret detention programmes. An investigation opened into two secret CIA detention sites that had already been acknowledged was abruptly terminated in January 2011 on highly dubious grounds. In this report, Amnesty International suggests critical lines of enquiry that have not been pursued, and calls on the authorities to re-open the investigations into both its own involvement in these operations and that of the USA and its agents on Lithuanian territory.
Europe: Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Rendition and Secret Detention Available in PDF only.