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Monday 16.12.2019 | Name days: Alvīne
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MEPs call on Russia to stop illegitimate prosecution of Lithuanian judges

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Vilnius, Lithuania, Russia, USSR

In this photo taken on January 13, 1991, a Lithuanian demonstrator stands in front of a Soviet Red Army tank during the assault on the Lithuanian Radio and Television station in Vilnius

The European Parliament has passed a resolution, where it calls on Russia to stop illegitimately prosecuting Lithuanian judges and EU countries should refuse any legal assistance.

In the text adopted by 493 votes in favour, 43 against and 86 abstentions on Thursday, November 28, MEPs call on Russia to end the politically motivated prosecution of Lithuanian judges and prosecutors who found 67 Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian citizens guilty of war crimes against Lithuania, following the events of 13 January 1991 in Vilnius.

Parliament denounces Russia’s actions as «unacceptable external influence», «politically motivated» and a violation of fundamental legal values, especially the independence of judiciary, according to EP’s press service.

MEPs ask all member states to not transfer any personal data to Russia that could be used in criminal proceedings against Lithuanian judges as well as to refuse Russia’s requests for related legal assistance. EU countries and Interpol should also ignore all international arrest warrants against the accused Lithuanian officials, MEPs stated according to EP’s press service.

14 civilians killed in Vilnius by Soviet troops

On 13 January 1991, following Lithuania’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, fourteen peaceful civilians were killed and nearly 800 wounded during a crackdown by Soviet troops on the Vilnius TV tower.

In March 2019, a Lithuanian Court issued a ruling on this act of aggression against Lithuania by finding 67 people, including the then Defence minister and KGB chief of the Soviet Union, guilty of war crimes.

Russia did not respond to the Lithuanian judiciary’s request for cooperation. The majority of those accused were therefore put on trial in absentia. In 2018, Russia retaliated by starting a criminal case against the Lithuanian judges, prosecutors and investigators involved in investigating the tragic events on 13 January 1991 in Vilnius, according to EP’s press service.


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