The European Court of Human Rights announced on October 9 that it has rejected appeals lodged by Lithuania and Romania over its ruling they were complicit in a controversial programme of secret CIA detention centres on their territories.

In May the court found that both countries knew two suspects caught after the September 11, 2001, attacks would risk torture while held at the “black sites” from 2004 to 2006.

Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri claimed he was illegally held and tortured at an undisclosed site in Romania, while suspected Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah alleged the same while in Lithuania.

A 2014 US Senate report determined that both men — considered “high-level detainees” — were subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding while in detention.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the court found that in both cases the suspects were effectively within the national jurisdictions of Lithuania and Romania, which were therefore “responsible for the violation” of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The convention explicitly forbids torture and the death penalty, and both countries were ordered to pay €100,000 to each complainant.

Nashiri and Zubaydah are now being detained at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay.

It is worth noting that, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the CIA took suspected Qaeda detainees to several “black sites” around the world to escape US rules on interrogations – a programme that has since been judged illegal.

  • Montgomery Granger

    Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT), including waterboarding (which still does not technically fit any rational definition of torture), were legal and approved when performed on a “handful of detainees,” and yielded information that “saved many lives.” This according to former US President George W. Bush in his memoir, “Decision Points.” Donald Rumsfeld, former US Secretary of Defense, stated in his autobiography, “Known and Unknown,” that no DoD personnel ever performed EIT or tortured any detainee. It always amazes me how international courts feel they have jurisdiction over US operations. It amazes me further how they consistently IGNORE the alleged crimes of the detainees in favor of their treatment, even in the face of knowing the detainees are unlawful combatants who are entitled to ZERO extra legal privileges, and retain no status with regard to the Geneva Conventions or Law of War.