“He was the first so-called ‘high-value detainee’ detained by the C.I.A. at the start of the ‘war on terror’ launched by President Bush,” the court said. He was held in Lithuania between 2005 and 2006 after being detained in Thailand and Poland.
For his part, Mr. Nashiri was seized in Dubai in October 2002, suspected of involvement in an attack in 2000 on a United States Navy destroyer, the Cole, in Yemen the same year, and on a French oil tanker, the Limburg, in 2002. He had been held in Romania between 2004 and 2005, the court said.
In Abu Zubaydah’s case, the court said, his detention in Lithuania “according to C.I.A. documents had as standard practice included blindfolding or hooding, solitary confinement, the continuous use of leg shackles and exposure to noise and light.”
The court cited testimony from the two men to the International Committee of the Red Cross in 2006 and to the United States military’s Combatant Status Review Tribunal in 2007. Both had spoken of experiencing harsher ordeals.
Mr. Nashiri had accused his interrogators of “hanging him upside down for almost a month; subjecting him to waterboarding; making him stand in a box for a week; slamming him into a wall; and keeping him in positions of stress.”
In February 2008, the then C.I. A. director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, said publicly that waterboarding was used on three Qaeda prisoners, including Abu Zubaydah and Mr. Nashiri.
The European court, sitting as a panel of seven judges, concluded that the detention center where Abu Zubaydah was held in Lithuania was one code-named “Site Violet,” which media reports have said was located in a former riding school near Vilnius, the capital.