Lietuva in brief - 2011-01-20

  • 2011-01-20

Lithuania does not oppose the EU’s proposal for re-imposing visa bans on Belarusian top officials, reports ELTA. The visa ban should apply only to a target group of citizens of Belarus, said the spokesman for President Dalia Grybauskaite. “Lithuania does not block any sanctions now when they are considered at the EU’s institutions. Sanctions should be applied to a target group of people - Belarusian officials who are directly related to the acts of repression,” presidential spokesman Linas Balsys said. Balsys recalled that President Grybauskaite last week sent a letter to the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, urging them to look for ways to facilitate travel and a visa regime within the Schengen area for Belarusians, irrespective of any sanctions that might be imposed by the EU on the Belarusian administration.

Lithuanian prosecutors said on Jan. 14 that they had dropped a probe of three former senior secret service chiefs alleged to have hushed up a purported U.S. lock-up for Al-Qaeda suspects in the country, reports AFP. “The information amassed during the investigation, as well as the lapse of the statute of limitations, prevents the continuation of the case against these individuals,” the chief prosecutor’s office said. Mecys Laurinkus, Arvydas Pocius and Dainius Dabasinkas were all named in a parliamentary inquiry into claims that a U.S. intelligence interrogation facility had been located in Lithuania. In December 2009, the inquiry’s report identified two sites which it said may have been used from 2003 to 2006. It noted that despite records showing U.S. Central Intelligence Agency aircraft landed in Lithuania, it was not possible to say if suspects were actually brought to the Baltic State. Laurinkus headed Lithuanian intelligence from 1998-2004 and Pocius from 2004-2007, while Dabasinkas was a deputy director. The trio were placed under investigation as a result of the parliamentary inquiry, amid claims that they failed to inform Lithuanian leaders about their collaboration with the United States.