Lithuania: foreign minister resigns amid scandal over secret CIA prisons
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas resigned Jan. 21 in the midst of a dispute with President Dalia Grybauskaite over secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisons in the country. Grybauskaite has publicly said that she believes there were prisoners held in Lithuania, but Usackas has denied this. The dispute follows a parliamentary report that found that the CIA had been provided two facilities in Lithuania to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. Usackas has maintained that no prisoners were actually held at the locations. On Jan. 20, Grybauskaite had urged Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius to dismiss Usackas because he had lost the president's confidence and trust.
In December, the Lithuanian Parliament's National Security Committee reported that the CIA had established secret prisons for al-Qaeda suspects in the Baltic country. Lawmakers demanded the investigation in October after ABC News reported in August that former CIA officials said that Lithuania provided the CIA with facilities for a secret prison for high-value al-Qaeda suspects in order to improve relations with the US. The parliamentary committee concluded that the Lithuanian State Security Department provided the CIA with two secret facilities, but it is unclear whether either facility was used to interrogate detainees. The committee uncovered no evidence that former president Valdus Adamkus and former prime minister Algirdas Brazauskas, who were both in office during the specified time period, were told about the secret detention centers. (Jurist, Jan. 23)