Seimas makes first step in bringing hope to life prisoners
The Seimas of Lithuania on Tuesday made the first step towards bringing the hope of release to those sentenced to life imprisonment.
Lawmakers gave their initial backing to amendments stipulating that a person might have their sentence reviewed after 20 years served. A court would review the person's behavior in prison and would be able to but would not be obliged to replace life imprisonment with a specific term ranging from five to ten years.
Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius told lawmakers that the law would give criminals "at least a very small possibility to be released".
In his words, prison sentences would be reduced "only to those convicts whose risk of criminal behavior and threat has maximally decreased".
The bill comes in response to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, stating that Lithuania violates the rights of prisoners serving life sentences by depriving them of any hope of release.
The Strasbourg court said last year 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 122 life prisoners in Lithuania. Most of them are serving their sentences in Lukiškės Prison in Vilnius.