Lithuanian govt to consider early release possibilities for life prisoners

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Lithuania's government will consider a proposal to define cases when people serving life prison sentences might be released. This way the country would implement the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.

Proposed amendments drafted by the Ministry of Justice state that a person sentenced to life imprisonment would be able to ask for early release after serving at least 20 years. And such a request would be considered by a regional court.

If the court decided to replace life imprisonment with a terminated prison sentence, it would no shorter than 5 years and longer then ten years from the day of the court ruling coming into force. And the convict could be released on parole when serving the 5-10 year sentence.

If a regional court rejected a request by life prisoner, it might be appealed with the Court of Appeals.

The decision-making process related to the release of a life prisoner might also involve victims and their representatives.

The amendments need approval by the government and parliament.

Under the existing Code of Criminal Proceedings, a person sentenced to life imprisonment might have the sentence reduced to at least 25 years.

In May 2017, ECHR ruled that Lithuania violates the rights of prisoners serving life sentences by depriving them of any hope of release.

In the court's opinion, Lithuania's presidential pardon system is not efficient and sufficient enough.

The court stressed that "even those who commit the most abhorrent and egregious of acts, nevertheless retain their essential humanity and carry within themselves the capacity to change".

The ECHR ruled that Lithuania violated the rights of eight life prisoners, which they have under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Currently, there are 122 life prisoners in Lithuania.

Source: BNS
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