Government proposes to define when life prisoners could be eligible for release
In an effort to comply with the European Court of Human Rights' judgment, the Lithuanian government proposed on Tuesday that the parliament should define cases when people serving life sentences could become eligible for release from prison.
The proposed amendments would allow a life prisoner to ask a regional court to review his or her life sentence after serving at least 20 years.
The court would be able to replace the life sentence with a fixed-term prison sentence of no less than five years but no more than ten years. The inmate would become eligible to be released on parole while serving the commuted sentence.
The existing Code of Criminal Procedure does not allow commuting a life sentence to less than 25 years' imprisonment.
The ECHR ruled in May 2017 that Lithuania violated the rights of prisoners serving life sentences by depriving them of any hope of release.
The Strasbourg court said that "presidential pardon in Lithuania de facto does not allow a life prisoner to know what he or she must do to be considered for release and under what conditions".
Currently, there are around 120 life prisoners in Lithuania. Most of them are serving their sentences in Vilnius' Lukiškes Prison.