VILNIUS, January 18 (Itar-Tass) —— The First district court of Vilnius on Wednesday acquitted Algirdas Paleckis, the chairman of the opposition political party Socialist People’s Front, of “denying Soviet aggression and occupation.”
“The charges have not been proved,” the court ruled. Prosecution demanded for the party’s leader a suspended sentence of one year in prison. The defense insisted on his acquittal, as he was only expressing his views. A rally in support of the freedom of speech, against persecution of dissent was held outside the court building before the hearing.
“Those who staged the trial of Paleckis have suffered a fiasco,” members of the Socialist People’s Front noted. His associates hold that Paleckis shamed his accusers, just as antifascist Georgi Dimitrov in his time, when being falsely accused of the Reichstag fire.
Paleckis said in an interview on the radio that when there was fighting for control over the television tower during the evens in Vilnius in 1991 there was indiscriminate firing “against friendly forces”, which phrase was used as the pretext for instituting criminal proceedings against him under the article that envisages responsibility “for denying Soviet aggression and occupation.”