Guantanamo prisoners to Lithuania?

August 1, 2007 at 4:40 pm 1 comment

Guantanamo prisonerAn OSCE special representative has claimed that Lithuania would agree to accept some of the persons imprisoned in the Guantanamo Naval Base. Lithuanian politicians were surprised to hear these words. The Lithuanian prisons are not prepared for this, and there actually have not been any talks about such plans.

Interested in Accepting Prisoners?

The president of the Belgian Senate, Ann-Marie Lizin (OSCE special representative), who is known for her criticism of the United States over Guantanamo, has considerably softened her opinion since her visit to the base last month.

The OSCE special representative has started urging other countries to accept at least some of the prisoners, so that only the most dangerous suspected terrorists — the “most valuable” prisoners, speaking in CIA lingo — remain at the base. Last week in Vienna, Lizin told the organization’s representatives that, in the long run, this would help close the prison in Cuba.According to the foreign press, several countries have already agreed to lodge about 80 persons from Guantanamo in their prisons.

The special representative claimed that only Albania, a loyal US ally, declared it would accept any prisoners. Reportedly, eight prisoners have already arrived in that country. Belgium has accepted two prisoners.

Moreover, Lizin informed the OSCE representatives that Lithuania, Denmark, and Germany have expressed their “provisory interest.”

Lithuanian Politicians Surprised

Parliament and government members interviewed by Delfi claimed that this was the first they had heard about the proposal. Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas was the only one who said that he would not comment on anything, justifying this by claiming he was on vacation.Defense Minister Juozas Olekas, who is acting prime minister, said this was the first time he heard about the possibility of transferring some of the prisoners to Lithuania. Delfi did not manage to contact Justice Minister Petras Baguska on 30 July.

The chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Justinas Karosas, also was surprised by the talk about accepting the Guantanamo prisoners. “I think she (Lizin) is bluffing,” the parliamentarian said.

A member of the parliamentary delegation to the OSCE parliamentary assembly, Audronius Azubalis, also had not heard anything about such plans. He doubted that Lithuania could accept prisoners from abroad.

“As far as I know, it would be very difficult, to put it mildly, to accept detainees into our prisons. Moreover, would it be fair to other prisoners?” the Conservative said.

According to him, the decision about accepting the prisoners should be made only after serious consultations with the parliament. He also recalled that Lithuania has already made a considerable contribution to the fight against international terrorism.

Delfi.lt, BBC Monitoring Service

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Northern Europe, Politics, Terrorism.

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