Lithuanian court upholds punishment for official over Soviet soldier's tombstones

A Lithuanian court has upheld a disciplinary punishment for a heritage protection official who dropped a case over Soviet soldiers' tombstones at Antakalnis Cemetery in Vilnius.

Vitas Karčiauskas, head of the Vilnius division of the Cultural Heritage Department, had asked the court to annul the order on his punishment, issued by the department's director last November. But Vilnius Regional Administrative Court last Wednesday upheld the decision, rejected the appeal as unfounded, Sigita Jacinevičienė-Baltaduonė, spokeswoman for the court, told BNS Lithuania.

The director of the Cultural Heritage Department send a letter to its Vilnius Division on July 5, stating that a Lithuanian organization uniting WWII participants who fought on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition, installed two new tombstones with Soviet symbols for Soviet troops at Antakalnis Cemetery last May-June while paving a path next to new burial plots.

The letter stated that these actions violated the maintenance rules and demanded administrative responsibility for the persons involved. The department also asked to be informed of further actions.

Karčiauskas, however, dropped the case, stating that there was no violation of the law. But a special panel later ruled that by doing so he exceeded his powers and did damage to the department's reputation, valuables protected by the law ands the existing legal order.

Source: BNS
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