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A significant judgment has been handed down by the European Court of Human Rights, concerning the rendition and conditions of detention in Lithuania of a so-called “High-Value Detainee” in Guantánamo Bay.

The Applicant is a Saudi national currently on trial before a US military commission in Guantánamo Bay on suspicion of being a facilitator and financial manager of al-Qaeda. He brought a claim against Lithuania, in relation to his torture, ill-treatment and unacknowledged detention in 2005-06 at a secret facility in Lithuania run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Those alleged events took place against the background of the so-called “War on Terror”.

In a unanimous judgment, the Court has found that Lithuania has violated his human rights as follows: Article 3 (torture and Inhuman and degrading treatment), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 8 (right to respect for private life), and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 and 8 in relation to his ill-treatment.

It also found violations of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial within a reasonable time), and Articles 2 (right to life) and 3 taken together with Article 1 of Protocol No. 6 (abolition of the death penalty), because Lithuania assisted in Mr al-Hawsawi’s transfer from its territory in spite of a real risk that he could face a flagrant denial of justice and the death penalty in the military proceedings.

The Court held that Lithuania is to pay the applicant 100,000 euros (EUR) in respect of nonpecuniary damage.

Shaheed Fatima KC and Ravi Mehta acted pro bono, with REDRESS for the Applicant.

The judgment may be found here.

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