Speaker for the Lithuanian parliament Viktoras Prancketis has revealed the reasons for his meetings with Ambassadors of Belarus and Russia on the eve of the Freedom Defenders’ Day.
At these meetings, the Ambassadors were reminded about their countries’ unwillingness to extradite the defendants in the case upon the events of January 13.
“This was the occasion to tell both Ambassadors – please turn attention that we have trials going on, and we want to subject these people to criminal responsibility, now we are putting them under trial in absentia, and that’s what we told the Ambassadors right now,” – Prancketis stated on Wednesday in an interview to the radio-station Ziniu radijas .
“The very fact that we spoke to the Ambassadors was representing Lithuania’s interests, and they did not react to our questions with a smile,” – the Speaker underlined.
The head of the Parliament met with the Russian Federation’s Ambassador in Vilnius Alexander Udaltsov and Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus Aliaksandr Karol this week.
The Vilnius District Court has been considered this case for almost a year, they are interrogating the victims now. This is one of the biggest cases in the history of trials of the independent Lithuania, by its scope and the number of defendants. Two persons are on the dock, and about 60 defendants are involved in the trial in absentia. They are accused of military crimes and crimes against humanity. The majority of the defendants are the citizens of the Russian Federation. In 1999, six people were imprisoned in the framework of the January 13 events case for setting up anti-state organizations and other crimes.
Last year it has been 25 years since the night of January 13, when 14 civil persons were killed as a result of the actions taken by the Soviet military men in Vilnius near the House of Print, the TV tower and the building of the Lithuanian radio and television.
For many years, Lithuania has been demanding that Belarus should extradite the former Deputy Minister of Defense of Belarus General Uladzimir Uskhopchyk. In January 1991 the general was a commander of the Vilnius garrison, and his subordinates shot at the fighters for the Lithuanian independence.