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Lithuanian court to pass ruling on opposition Socialist politician

January 22, 2013, 2:40 UTC+3

The Prosecutor’s Office that demanded sentencing the politician to a suspended twelve-months-long term filed a petitioned against the court ruling

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VILNIUS, January 22 (Itar-Tass) – Lithuania’s Supreme Court is expected to pronounce a verdict on the case of Algirdas Paleckis chairman of the opposition Socialistinis Liaudies Frontas /Socialist People’s Front/, who is charged with a way-out crime -- “the denial of Soviet aggression and occupation.”

“Whatever the verdict, I am convinced of the moral correctness of my stance,” Paleckis told Itar-Tass.

The political forces that conjured up his persecution through court for dissenting ideas have doomed themselves to a defeat as the ones that fear historical facts and freedom of speech, he said.

“I’ll continue defending people’s rights to maintain their own viewpoints and to express them openly,” Paleckis said.

He believes that it is difficult to expect an unbiased ruling on the part of judges given the pressure that politicians and the media have been putting on the court.

In the light of it, he recalled a recent remark by a representative of the Prosecutor’s Office, who said the ruling on this case may set up an important precedent in terms of judiciary practices.

“They’re doing everything in their power to steer others away from saying things that run counter to the official position,” Paleckis said.

He indicated that he will turn to the European Court for Human Rights if he fails to get a fair court ruling in Lithuania.

Lithuanian judiciary has been considering the Paleckis case for several years in succession.

He committed an alleged crime when he said in a radio interview that “Lithuanians opened fire at Lithuanians” when the Soviet Spetsnaz forces were regaining control over the Vilnius broadcasting tower in the middle of January 1991.

His statement, which relies on several commonly known facts and eyewitnesses evidence, provided a pretext for instituting a criminal case that envisions responsibility for “a denial of Soviet aggression and occupation.”

At the beginning, the court states that the charges against Paleckis remained unconfirmed and that he had not mentioned either “occupation” or “aggression” but had merely “expressed his viewpoint.”

The Prosecutor’s Office that demanded sentencing the politician to a suspended twelve-months-long term filed a petitioned against the court ruling.

In the course of a judicial re-examination of the case, Paleckis was told to pay a fine of 3,000 euro. He petitioned against the ruling but paid the fine, since he would not be able to take part in the October 2012 parliamentary election otherwise.

At present, courts are hearing the cases of two eyewitnesses who provide witness in his favor. They are being charged with offering false evidence.

“Some it fulfilling a political order,” Paleckis said.

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