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Lithuania asks for allied solidarity regarding Russia’s actions against Lithuanian justice officials in January 13 case

On 13 January, at the North Atlantic Council meeting, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to NATO Ambassador Deividas Matulionis raised an issue of Russia’s actions against Lithuanian justice officials in January 13 case and asked for Allied solidarity.

Ambassador informed 29 NATO Allies that on 14 December 2020 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation brought criminal charges in absentia against three Lithuanian judges who had been investigating the January 13 case and intended to put them on the international wanted list.

„Such criminal proceedings by Russia against Lithuanian officials is an act of open pressure on Lithuania and its judicial system, and a serious assault on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary“, said Ambassador Matulionis.

The Soviet military attack on the TV tower and National Radio and Television building in Vilnius on 13 January 1991 resulted in 14 civilian deaths and left more than 800 people injured. Following thorough investigation and trial, in March 2019, Lithuanian court found 67 former Soviet officials guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the January 13 Soviet aggression.

The verdict has been challenged in the Lithuanian Court of Appeals, which concluded the consideration of the matter in November 2020. The sentence in this case is expected to be passed in March 2021.

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