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2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuania is handing to court the case of an attempted Soviet coup

Algirdas Acus 2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuanian Prosecutor General says that this case of attempted Soviet coup of 13January 1991, is the most significant and the largest case in the history of Lithuania's law-enforcement.

Lithuanian Prosecutor General says that this case of attempted Soviet coup of 13January 1991, is the most significant and the largest case in the history of Lithuania's law-enforcement.

Fourteen people were killed during an attack on the Vilnius TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, when Soviet units in early hours of 13 January 1991 tried to overthrow the Lithuanian government, after Lithuania declared independence from Soviet Union in March 1990.

Prosecutor General Office informs having finished pre-trial investigation of the events and finally is handing the 13 January case to the court. Some 700 volumes of documents were taken to the court by a special bus, escorted by the police.

Prosecutors say that there are 79 suspects in the case. Only two of those are in Lithuania. Most of them are Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian citizens, of whom many live abroad in Russia and will probably be tried in absentia.

3 persons have already died, 10 persons are included in a separate pre-trial investigation, and court now will investigate 66 suspects.

However, critics claim that the most important suspect Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of Soviet Union at the time, is not touched by this investigation. Lithuanian Prosecutors did not even manage to question him although they did try.

In 1999, six participants of the events – Mykolas Burokevičius, Juozas Jarmalavičius, Juozas Kuolelis, Leonas Bartoševicius, Stanislav Mickevic and Jaroslav Prokopovic – were sentenced for involvement in anti-state organizations and other crimes.

Lithuanian law foresees a penalty for war crimes with imprisonment for a lifetime.
 

Shotlist
Shots and photos of the case

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

ROBERTAS POVILAITIS, son of the victim of the January events:
He was President of the Soviet Union at the time when killings were made in Vilnius, and in Tbilisi before that. He was chief of the armed forces. We cannot say anything about his activity and prosecutors have not so far evaluated his role. I think this is a serious drawback of this investigation. Maybe we still lack some documents, and this raises questions if we’ve done all our homework.

Archive,13 January 1991

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

DARIUS RAULUŠAITIS, temporary Lithuanian Prosecutor General:

The situation that he is not considered a suspect only shows that it was impossible to reach certain data based on very limited available information, bearing in mind current level of co-operation with Russia. However, I must say that this case foresees another investigation regarding persons who have not been questioned. Of course today it is a very theoretical opportunity, but maybe Russian attitude will change in the future and this opportunity will wait.

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