The Klaipeda District Court found Titov guilty of incitement to hatred, denial of Soviet crimes and the defamation of the memory of a deceased person, Olga Sadovskaja, the court's spokeswoman, told BNS.

The court ruled that the defendant had acted deliberately, noting that he had searched for information on Ramanauskas-Vanagas on the Internet.

"Titov knew that Ramanauskas-Vanagas was characterized positively, because he searched for information on Ramanauskas-Vanagas on the Internet. After data were retrieved from his computer, it turned out that that information was exceptionally positive," Judge Violeta Balciuniene told the daily Atvira Klaipeda.

The defendant was acquitted on a count of calling his critics fascists, she said.

The public prosecutor sought a 20-month suspended prison sentence for Titov.

The investigation was launched last July after the Klaipeda politician said in a public discussion that 8,000 people, including children, were killed at Ramanauskas-Vanagas' initiative during the anti-Soviet guerilla war and that the partisan commander personally pronounced the death sentences.

Titov does not admit to any of the charges, saying he is being persecuted for his opinion.

The politician claims he based his statements about Ramanauskas-Vanagas on a Soviet court ruling. Historians say, however, any research of the anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania cannot be based on Soviet information only as KGB files are full of false information aimed at smearing partisans.

Lithuania's Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that Titov breached his oath by making such statements.

The politician did not wait for an impeachment vote and resigned as a member of the City Council of Klaipeda, but was reelected in municipal elections in March.

After Lithuania regained independence, the partisan leader was rehabilitated by a court and was posthumously awarded the state's top decorations.

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