VILNIUS - The most scandalous Lithuanian criminal cases are becoming so paranormal that they would raise the eyebrows of Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon and the authors of Twin Peaks. On June 13, businessman Andrius Usas, 36, was found dead. He was the only official suspect in the alleged pedophilia case, also known as the Kedys case. The trial was planned to start in the Panevezys court on June 16.
According to prosecutors, Usas went for the weekend to his friends’ farmstead in Eigirdonys village, Alytus region. On Sunday, he decided to take a lonely ride with a massive quadracycle in the surroundings. He bought that quadracycle on June 2. At 15:40, the quadracycle was found by villager Valdas Anusauskas, who went to check his cows in the field. The quadracycle was in a ditch filled with about 50 centimeters of water near the village road. Usas’ corpse was in the water near the quadracycle. His left hand glove was found 1.5 kilometers away from the corpse.
“There are no traces of violence on the corpse,” Raimondas Petrauskas, interim prosecutor general, told Lithuanian public TV in a phone interview on the evening of June 13. He said similar words when the corpse of Drasius Kedys was found in April, although some experts, who were not invited to do the official autopsy, told Lithuanian media that they saw possible traces of violence on Kedys face in the video shot during Kedys’ funeral.
“It is quite common that an accident happens when the heart of the driver stops functioning,” Petrauskas said in the press conference of June 14, with the same weird Mona Lisa-style smile which was on his face when he announced the death of Kedys.
On June 15, prosecutor Zenonas Burokas during his press conference stated that, according to the preliminary results of the autopsy, Usas drowned in that 50-centimeter-deep water in the ditch. Burokas said that Usas also could have had other health problems.
“The court hearings can go on only if the Usas family will express such a wish,” Petrauskas said. Loreta Kraujutaitiene, Usas’ lawyer, as well as Usas’ parents and his wife Guoda Usiene stated that the Usas family wants to rehabilitate the Usas name and wishes to continue the process in the courts.
On June 14, Kristupas Krivickas, a journalist with Lithuania’s TV3, who kept accusing Usas of pedophilia, stated that Usas was killed by the pedophiles’ mafia, while Laima Lavaste, a journalist with the daily Lietuvos Rytas, who defended Usas in her articles, stated that Usas’ health deteriorated due to accusations made by politicians and media against him in the alleged pedophilia case, and this could have caused his death.
There is a widespread distrust in the prosecutors’ work in Lithuania. According to a survey by the social research company Spinter Tyrimai, which was published on delfi.lt on June 15, only 4.5 percent of Lithuanians believe that Kedys was not killed. According to the phone voting on LNK TV of June 14, only eight percent of callers believe that Usas was not killed, while 92 percent believe that he was murdered.
On Oct. 5 last year, Kedys, 37, who said his young daughter had been the victim of pedophiles (including Usas), gunned down a Kaunas judge and his daughter’s aunt. Earlier, Kedys publicly blamed both of them for being involved in the molestation. In April, Kedys was found dead near Kaunas. A gun, which was used in the double murder, was found near Kedys’ corpse. Officials concluded that Kedys died due to vomiting caused by alcohol abuse.
Usas was the godfather of Kedys’ daughter and an acquaintance of Laimute Stankunaite, the mother of Kedys’ daughter. Kedys and Stankunaite had a long fight over their daughter. Since the killings of Oct. 5, Kedys’ daughter lives in temporary custody of judge Neringa Venckiene, who is the sister of Kedys.
Another controversial case in Lithuania is the case of Egle Kusaite, 21. This young woman from Klaipeda was arrested by the Lithuanian State Security Department on suspicions that she was ready to travel to some military facility in Chechnya as a suicide bomber. According to prosecutors, Kusaite, who has been in Vilnius’ Lukiskes Prison since October, had constant Internet and phone contacts with Islamists in Russia, though an unnamed former employee of Klaipeda’s State Security Department told Lithuanian public TV that he does not believe in the terrorist intentions of Kusaite. Kusaite, when she was 17 years old, left for Germany where she lived for a year in a small town with Chechens. Later, according to the LNK TV Paskutine Instancija program, Kusaite returned to Klaipeda where she lived in a flat rented with taxpayers’ money by the Lithuanian State Security Department and was closely observed by Lithuanian security agents. The Web site of the North Caucasus’ Islamists, www.kavkazcenter.com, cries about the torture against Kusaite in Lukiskes Prison.
On June 11, Virginija Kusiene, Kusaite’s mother, and Irena Jeleniauskaite, Kusaite’s aunt, held a press conference in the Lithuanian parliament stating that all Kusaite’s confessions about her intention to become a suicide bomber were obtained using physical and psychological pressure. “Egle’s confession was forced through violence and threats,” Kusiene said, adding that her daughter has been observed by the Lithuanian State Security Department since she was 14 years old because of her friendship with a young Chechen refugee and, according to Kusiene, “all the Chechens are observed by the security in Lithuania.” Jeleniauskaite said that the Lithuanian and Russian security services made up the case of her niece and, during one of the interrogations only Russian agents took part. “Only the Russians were present and they were smashing her head into the wall,” Jeleniauskaite said.
On June 11, Algimantas Kliunka, chief prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office Organized Crime and Corruption Prevention Department, also held his press conference in the parliament. He denied accusations made by Kusaite’s mother and aunt, stating that Kusaite was ready to perform a suicide bombing in a public space in Chechnya. Kliunka said that the representatives from Russia participated in the interrogations as observers and no physical violence was used.
“Kusaite is suspected of making contact in June-October of 2009 with the Islamist groups based in Russia. From them she received an invitation to come to Russia, received 500 U.S. dollars (410 euros) for the trip, took out a Lithuanian passport and got a Russian visa. We asked the Russian embassy not to issue the visa, but they gave her their visa. Then we were forced to arrest her, preventing her from traveling to Russia,” Kliunka said.