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Lithuania's justice minister, its prosecutor general and a judicial official are going to the European Parliament next week to ask for solidarity in protecting Lithuanian judges and prosecutors involved in the January 1991 crackdown case from Russia's persecution.
Europos Parlamentas
Europos Parlamentas
© AP / Scanpix

The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs is scheduled to discuss the issue next Tuesday.

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevicius has told BNS that he will go to Brussels together with Prosecutor General Evaldas Pasilis, and Kaunas Regional Court President Nerijus Meilutis who represents Lithuania in the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ).

"I'll emphasize that Lithuanian judges and prosecutors are judges and prosecutors of the whole EU and must be protected from unlawful external influences while performing their constitutional duties," the minister said.

Jankevicius said he was grateful to Lithuanian MEPs for raising this issue in their political groups.

He hopes that following discussions, the European Parliament will adopt a resolution on this issue in the future.

Russia said in July 2018 that it had opened a criminal case against Lithuanian judges and prosecutors involved in the so-called January 13 case. Moscow accuses them of "unlawful prosecution of Russian citizens".

Last March, the Vilnius Regional Court convicted former Soviet Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov and more than 60 other former Soviet officials and military officers of war crimes and crimes against humanity and handed them prison sentences in absentia.

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 January 13, 1991.

The Soviet Union used military force in its attempt to remove the legitimate government of Lithuania which declared independence on March 11, 1990.

BNS
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