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MEPs after visit to alleged CIA prison near Vilnius: unanswered questions remain

Valstybės saugumo departamento bazė netoli Vilniaus, Antaviliuose.
Andriaus Ufarto/BFL nuotr. / State Secrity Department base in Antaviliai
Šaltinis: BNS

Many unanswered questions remain in connection to the building currently used by Lithuania's State Security Department, the head of the European Parliament's (EP) delegation said after a visit in the alleged site of the US Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) prison near Vilnius.

After visiting the building in Antaviliai for an hour and a half, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, chairman of the EP Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said it was necessary to continue investigating what the infrastructure was used for.

“Not to our surprise, we have just checked on the spot that the whole thing has been rearranged. The visit has been a visit to a security facility, which has got little to do with the purpose for which it was once build up,” Aguilar, the head of the EP delegation, told journalists after the visit to Antaviliai.

"It is just reasonable to keep the interrogation about the very nature of this facility, why was the American tax-payers' money used for this security facility in the first place before it was taken over by the Lithuanian authorities," he added.

"There is still much work to be done in order to clarify what the intention was, the purpose, why it was build," said Aguilar, Spain's former foreign minister.

Media reports have listed the building some 15 kilometers outside Vilnius as a secret CIA detention center, which could have hosted suspected terrorists. Formerly a stud farm and a cafe, the building is now a training center of the State Security Department.

Local residents have said Americans were involved in the reconstruction project.

"Members of the delegation were escorted to the premises and infrastructure of the State Security Department-administered building, questions of the delegation's members were answered," Vytautas Makauskas, spokesman for the department, told BNS.

He emphasized that the visit was organized as an exceptional measure.

"The visit was organized as an exceptional measure, as issues related to national reconnaissance and its institutions are the national competence, under the law of the European Union," said Makauskas.

After starting the three-day visit on Wednesday, the delegation already met with top officers of the Prosecutor General's Office, the justice minister and presidential advisers.

The delegation plans to hold a press conference at the parliament on Friday.

During a parliamentary investigation in late 2009, two locations were identified in Vilnius and near the Lithuanian capital where premises might have been equipped for the detention of detainees.

The parliamentary probe also showed that CIA-related planes entered Lithuania's airspace in 2003-2006 several times. The investigations failed, however, to identify if any suspected terrorists were actually brought to Lithuania.

President Dalia Grybauskait4 and Justice Minister Remigijus Šimašius said earlier on Thursday that Lithuania had done everything in its power to establish the truth, with final answers expected after receipt of information from the United States.

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