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Lithuanian goes on trial over alleged Islamist bomb plot

Last Updated: Friday, December 24, 2010 - 00:07

Vilnius: A Lithuanian woman went on trial
behind closed doors in the Baltic state today on charges of
plotting a suicide bombing in Russia for an Islamist network.

Egle Kusaite, 21, denies the charges and claims that
Lithuanian and Russian security forces used physical and
mental pressure to force an earlier confession.

Kusaite, wearing jeans and a grey sweater, arrived at
the court in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius with her mother
and more than a dozen supporters who, along with reporters,
were ordered to leave the chamber by the judge.

"I want the public to be fully informed about my
case," Kusaite said, as the judge ruled that the trial should
take place behind closed doors.

"This whole process is unfair. They are afraid that
people will hear how the evidence was collected," she told

Prosecutor Mindaugas Duda said the decision was

"Witnesses who have anonymity will be questioned, and
there is also a threat of disclosing methods of operational
activity," he told reporters.

Kusaite was arrested in October 2009, charged in May
this year, and released from remand in August pending her

She is accused of having plotted to strike at military
targets related to the conflict in Chechnya, a southern,
Muslim-majority region of Russia where Moscow has fought two
wars with separatists since 1994.

Prosecutors claim that Kusaite developed a network of
contacts with Islamist militants in Russia as well as
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Britain.

Kusaite is a convert to Islam -- the vast majority of
Lithuania`s 3.3 million people are Roman Catholic -- and
claims that Lithuanian intelligence has been trying to set her
up for several years.

Prosecutors have rejected that allegation.
They have also denied her claim that she was beaten
and subjected to mental pressure by Lithuanian officers, and
that Russian counterparts who came to the Baltic state as
observers were allowed to interrogate and mistreat her.

Today`s hearing lasted three hours. The next session
is scheduled for March.


First Published: Friday, December 24, 2010 - 00:07
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