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Winners of the Global Lithuanian Awards are refusing to accept them from President Gitanas Nauseda.
Globalios Lietuvos apdovanojimų statulėlės
Globalios Lietuvos apdovanojimų statulėlės
© Organizacijos archyvas

Those refusing to do so include Laisves TV (Freedom TV), a TV channel established by public figure Andrius Tapinas, which organized a large-scale event last year in support of Belarusian opposition, as well as representatives of Vilnius-Lithuania iGEM, a winner of the synthetic biology competition iGEM.

"On behalf of Laisves TV, I would like to state that we appreciate very much work done by Global Lithuanian Leaders and we are grateful for the appreciation but we refuse to accept this award from the hands of Gitanas Nauseda," Tapinas posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

"By choosing to communicate with criminals and support unlawful rallies, during which proposals to hang Seimas members are made, the presidential office has undermined values we hold dear, lost any confidence and become a toxic place we would not like to be associated with," he wrote.

Tapinas believes that "the incumbent president is not the person to talk about unity, proclaim citizenship and love for the homeland," therefore, Laisves TV will not attend the event.

In a statement on Vilnius-Lithuania iGEM's position, given to BNS on Tuesday, representatives of Vilnius-Lithuania iGEM said that "in the context of the presidential office's latest positions and actions, and to protect the integrity of our values, we refuse to accept the award from the president's hands".

They also say they know "a number of young Lithuanian scientists whose basic rights, respect and a safe life are not ensured, therefore, they are forced to renounce their scientific careers in Lithuania".

Ausra Kukelkaite, head of Global Lithuanian Leaders, told BNS she doesn’t know yet what she plans to do about some winner refusing to accept their awards from the president.

"I don’t know yet what we will do in this situation. I believe we will try to talk to all winners tomorrow (Wednesday) and see what's the opinion of other winners," she said.

In he words, a discussion with the award winner is scheduled to take place at the presidential office on July 16.

The presidential office told BNS that "in a free country, everyone has the right to decide who to accept awards from".

Held annually since 2012, the Global Lithuanian Awards honor professionals with merits to Lithuania. They are organized by the NGO Global Lithuanian Leaders.

BNS
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