Lithuanian Terrorism Suspect Taken Into Custody In Courtroom

A Lithuanian woman accused of planning a terrorist attack in Russia was taken into custody today in a Vilnius courtroom, RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service reports.

A convert to Islam, Egle Kusaite was apprehended in Vilnius in October 2009 with a Russian visa in her passport and a one-way ticket to Russia.

In June 2010, a senior Lithuanian investigator said she had confessed that she had planned to travel to Chechnya and blow herself up in a public place.

Kusaite said subsequently that she had made the confession under duress in exchange for a promise that two Chechen friends in detention in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison on terrorism-related charges would not be killed.

Russia has a moratorium on the death penalty but opponents of the government have died in mysterious circumstances in prison.

The two friends — Apti Magmadov and his wife Ayshat Magmadova — are alleged to have recruited Kusaite to carry out a suicide attack.

Kusaite, 21, was taken into custody after a new charge of sending threatening SMS messages to Justas Laucius, the official from the Lithuanian prosecutor’s office who first initiated the case against her.

Kusaite’s aunt told RFE/RL that she thinks the new charges were filed because it has become obvious that the original terrorism charge — which she said Lithuanian state security officials and the prosecutor’s office fabricated — cannot stand up in court.

She said Kusaite’s family has been unable to find out where she has been taken.

Kusaite’s aunt claimed that “there is no justice” in Lithuania.

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