Lithuanian charged over Russian Islamic 'terror' plot

20th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Lithuanian prosecutors on Tuesday said they formally indicted a woman from the Baltic state suspected of plotting a suicide attack in Russia on behalf of an Islamist network.

After a court hearing in Vilnius, prosecutor Justas Laucius told reporters the investigation of Egle Kusaite's case had been wrapped up Monday and she had been charged on two separate counts.

"Kusaite has been indicted for a serious crime and a grave crime, for participating in creating and taking part in an organised group to commit an act of terrorism, and for preparing an act of terrorism in very sophisticated circumstances," Laucius said.

He said Kusaite, 20, was accused of plotting to strike at Russian military targets related to the conflict in Chechnya, with the aim of causing a maximum death toll and spreading panic.

Kusaite was detained in October 2009 but her case only became public in April this year when it was revealed by Lithuanian newspaper Lietuvos Rytas.

Prosecutors have claimed that she is a convert to Islam -- most Lithuanians are Catholic -- and developed a network of contacts with militants in Russia as well as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Britain.

Her defence team and family have rejected the allegations.

Reporters from the Baltic News Service present at Tuesday's court hearing said Kusaite claimed she had been beaten while on remand, with those involved including Russian officers who had come to Lithuania.

Prosecutors rejected that.

It was not immediately clear when Kusaite's case might go to trial, but a hearing is due on Thursday to decide if she should be remanded for a further three months.

© 2010 AFP

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