News2019.06.04 15:30

Stricter sentence sought for politician in anti-Soviet partisan defamation case

BNS 2019.06.04 15:30

The prosecutor has appealed a Klaipėda court's sentence handed down to Viačeslav Titov, a local politician, over his statements about Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, one of the leaders of Lithuania's anti-Soviet partisan resistance. 

Prosecutor Simonas Genys believes that the Klaipėda District Court gave Titov, who was found guilty of defaming the partisan leader, a wrong sentence and that it was wrong to acquit him, the Prosecutor General's Office said in a press release on Tuesday. 

Read more: Lithuanian politician fined for ‘defamation’ of anti-Soviet partisan leader Ramanauskas-Vanagas

Genys is asking a higher court to convict Titov on all three charges: contempt for the memory of the deceased, incitement against any national, racial, ethnic, religious or other group of person, and public condonation of international crimes, crimes committed by the USSR or Nazi Germany against Lithuania or its inhabitants, and denial or gross trivialization of these crime. 

The prosecutor demands that Titov be given a 20-month suspended prison sentence and be ordered to apologize to the victims.

Genys sought the same sentence in the first-instance court, but it ruled on May 14 to impose a fine of 12,000 euros on the member of the Klaipėda City Council 

The investigation was launched last July after the Klaipėda 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. 

Read more: Why does Lithuanian post-war partisan leader remain a global controversy? 

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 as a councilor by making such statements.

The politician did not wait for an impeachment vote and resigned as a member of the City Council of Klaipėda, 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.

Read more: ‘We were ready’ – disinformation struggle over partisan legacy in the Baltics

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