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2019.05.29 15:50

Investigator pressured not to end CIA prison probe in Lithuania, union leader says

BNS, Jūratė Skėrytė 2019.05.29 15:50

Prosecutor in charge of the investigation into an alleged CIA prison in Lithuania faced pressure not to end the probe, the leader of prosecutors' trade union said on Wednesday. 

The case was handled by Mindaugas Dūda, who then worked as a prosecutor at the Prosecutor General's Office. He is an attorney now. 

"Deputy Prosecutor General Darius Raulušaitis sought to persuade (Dūda), saying the case could not be closed; he suggested that (the prosecutor) go have a smoke for 20 minutes and change his mind; (...) he suggested closing any other case except this one, because that would displease the president's office," Julius Rėksnys told the parliament's commission conducting an investigation into illegal influence on politicians and public servants.  

Rėksnys, who is the chief prosecutor at the 1st Criminal Prosecution Division of the Vilnius District Prosecutor's Office, said Dūda himself had told him about the pressure.   

"When they tried to persuade him to continue that investigation, he was given a list with the names of six or ten, or twelve people against whom suspicions were to be brought," Rėksnys said. 

"As far as I remember, he said the list had included Mečys Laurinkus and Arvydas Pocius, former security officials. I think Dūda mentioned (former) President Valdas Adamkus, too," he said. 

According to Rėksnys, Dūda made it clear that the so-called CIA prison case was "baseless", "based on guesswork" and "without evidence".

Raulušaitis served as deputy prosecutor general between 2010 and 2015. 

Raulušaitis, the former high-ranking prosecutor told BNS on Wednesday he had felt no pressure or any special attention from politicians regarding the case. 

"There was no special attention. There was some attention from various international organizations. I think Amnesty International came and inquired about how things were going, but no more than that," the former deputy prosecutor general said.  

"I really don't remember such conversations," said Raulušaitis."I might have said something about that case, but I definitely (put no pressure) to adopt any decisions".

"There's no point in doing that. At that time, I was in a position where, had I not liked the decision, I could have annulled it," said Raulušaitis.

The Prosecutor General's Office has dismissed allegations that prosecutors or politicians exerted influence or pressure on the investigation into secret CIA prisons. 

Following court rulings, the Prosecutor General's Office launched, in 2014, a pre-trial investigation into possible illegal transportation of people across the national border. A year later, a reopened investigation into possible abuse of office was merged with the former. The probe is still ongoing, but no formal suspects have been named.   

In December 2014, the US Senate published a report on secret CIA detention sites. Human rights activists believe that one of the sites, the one referred to as "Violet" in the report, was located in a building in Antaviliai, near Vilnius. 

Daiva Ulbinaitė, spokeswoman for President Dalia Grybauskaitė, told BNS that the president's office would not comment on Reksnys' allegations about pressure on the prosecutor.