Lithuanian chief prosecutor calls Russia's attempt to intimidate prosecutors undemocratic
Russia's decision to open criminal cases against the Lithuanian prosecutors and judges working on the Jan. 13 case is an attempt to influence their work, Lithuania's Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis says, adding that it runs counter to the democratic principles of justice.
"I can only evaluate this news as an attempt to intimidate with prosecution and affect the work of our state prosecutors and judges. It runs counter to the principles of justice all democratic countries with the rule of law follow," Pašilis said in a statement.
Earlier on Monday, Russia's Investigative Committee 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“.
Lithuania's prosecution service says it has not received any official notices from Russia on an opened prosecution process against Lithuanian prosecutors.
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.