Lithuania Prepares to Sell Former CIA ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ Site Where Abu Zubaydah Was Tortured

© REUTERS / JANIS LAIZANSAerial view of a building used by CIA to house prisoners in Vilnius, Lithuania, January 20, 2022, Picture taken on January 20, 2022.
Aerial view of a building used by CIA to house prisoners in Vilnius, Lithuania, January 20, 2022, Picture taken on January 20, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2022
The Lithuanian government said it will soon put on the market a barn where it once allowed the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to torture kidnapped terror suspects.
The CIA once called it “Project No. 2” or “Detention Site Violet” - a steel barn located in the forest outside the Lithuanian capital with 10 windowless, soundproof rooms, where suspected terrorists were secretly taken to be interrogated and tortured. Now, the Lithuainian government is looking to sell the property for an undecided price, Reuters reported.
"This was a heavily guarded building where one could do whatever you want. What exactly was going on there, we did not determine," Arvydas Anusauskas, who led a Lithuanian parliamentary investigation into the site in 2010, told the news agency. However, Vilnius has never admitted the structure was Site Violet.
Between February 2005 and March 2006, the CIA used the building as a black site for its “extraordinary rendition” program - a fancy name for kidnapping people and torturing them for information about al-Qaeda* or other terrorist groups as part of its Global War on Terror.
Conditions faced by prisoners there included being shaven on arrival, blindfolded or hooded and legs shackled the entire time they were there, being held in solitary conditions and being exposed to constant light and high-intensity noise. Needless to say, people who disappeared to these sites had no access to a lawyer, judge, monitoring body, or any kind of due process of law.
Among those known to have been rendered to the site were Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was named as "the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks" in the 9/11 Commission Report; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, alleged to be the mastermind of the 2000 USS Cole bombing; Mustafa al-Hawsawi, alleged to have financially facilitated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; and Abu Zubaydah, who was once accused of being a senior al-Qaeda member, although the US government has now admitted he was never a member, and who has never been charged with a crime.
The site was closed after the Lithuanian government refused to admit Hawsawi to a hospital, according to CIA cables. All four remain in US detention at US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
In 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the governments of Lithuania and Romania, where another CIA black site was located, to pay Zubaydah and Nashiri €100,000 each in restitution for violating the European Union’s prohibition on torture.
*A terrorist group banned in many countries
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