Ludford: Rendition inquiries in Lithuania positive but incomplete

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEPLiberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford has visited Lithuania as part of a delegation following up the 2007 European Parliament inquiry report – of which she was vicechair – on European collusion in extraordinary rendition and torture.

She is co-rapporteur of a new report aiming to determine European states’ progress in investigating and determining accountability in the last 5 years.

Sarah Ludford commented:

“Credit must go to Lithuania for having instituted both a parliamentary and a prosecutorial inquiry, more than any other country. This positive example shames bigger states, like the UK under the Labour government, which have refused to lift the lid.”

 “However certain questions remain about Lithuania’s role and MEPs encourage the prosecutor to examine new material. This relates notably to the claim to have been rendered and imprisoned there from current Guantanamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah, whose case will in any event have to be answered by the Lithuanian government before the Strasbourg court.”

Our visit to a building identified as a possible detention site confirmed that its construction and design fitted such a purpose. It is puzzling to conceive of what alternative use the prosecutor could have been persuaded it had.”

“The prosecutor should fully extend his work, and of course the US which holds the truth must share it with its own and European citizens. Illegal rendition and torture demand full political and if necessary criminal responsibility, and Charles Taylor’s conviction shows that impunity does not last.”

Note for editors

A national parliamentary inquiry established that CIA aircraft had landed in Lithuania on repeated occasions and that facilities were prepared for holding detainees. However that and a subsequent prosecutors’ inquiry found no proof of detainees having been there.

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