Lithuanian formin warns Jan. 13 judges, prosecutors not to travel to Russia

Linas Linkevičius

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has warned the prosecutors and judges working on the January 13 case not to travel to Russia or its "satellite countries" after Russia open criminal cases against them.

"It's not safe to go to Russia as they might be detained. The same should be said about Russia's satellite states. This is an obvious recommendation," the minister told BNS Lithuania on Monday without naming specific countries.

The minister called Russia's behavior a cynical attempt to put pressure on Lithuanian law enforcement, taking into account the fact that Moscow has refused to cooperate with Lithuania on probing Soviet aggression.

According to Linkevičius, Russia's law enforcement has lately become "a repressive instrument legitimizing annexation, occupation and denying obvious crimes".

Earlier on Monday, Russia's law enforcement opened cases against Lithuanian judges and prosecutors hearing the January 13 case, based on an article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on "knowingly bringing an innocent person to criminal liability“.

A total of 67 people have been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes in the January 13th case, with the majority of them standing trial in absentia. Lithuanian prosecutors have proposed sentencing former Soviet defense Minister Dmitry Yazov and several other army officers to life in prison.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded when the Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of Jan. 13, 1991.

Source: BNS
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