Vilnius, Lithuania – Twice in the past three years, the Lithuanian Parliament investigated reports that the CIA secretly imprisoned al-Qaida leaders in this Baltic country. Both times, legislators concluded that there was no evidence.
Now the Parliament is investigating a third time, and it is looking a little harder. Fresh reports of covert CIA flights carrying prisoners from Afghanistan to Lithuania, as well as the revelation that U.S. contractors built a high-security complex at the edge of a forest near Vilnius, have added to the suspicions.
Many Lithuanian officials said they remain unconvinced that their country’s secret services allowed the CIA to detain international terrorists.
But increasingly, after years of issuing denials, Lithuania’s leaders are no longer ruling out the possibility that the CIA operated a secret prison in this northern European country of 3.5 million people.
Last month, newly elected President Dalia Grybauskaite said she had “indirect suspicions” that the CIA reports might be true and urged Parliament to investigate more thoroughly.
Sunni leader sentenced to die
Baghdad – An Iraqi court on Thursday sentenced the Sunni leader of a government-allied paramilitary group to death for murder and kidnapping in a case that highlighted tensions over the treatment of former insurgents who turned against al-Qaida.
The ruling against Adel al-Mashhadani coincided with political uncertainty in Iraq, as lawmakers planned to vote Saturday on how to break a deadlock over an election law after a vice president vetoed it.
The sentence and the veto dispute, though not directly linked, reflect the challenges of reconciliation in a nation where ethnic and sectarian factions remain suspicious of each other after years of bloodshed.