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Published: 3 january 2013 11:30

Panel recommends against granting Lithuanian citizenship to ice skater Isabella Tobias, barring her from Sochi Olympics

Isabella Tobias ir Deividas Stagniūnas
Teodoro Biliūno/Žmonės.lt nuotr. / Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniūnas were hoping to represent Lithuania at Sochi Winter Olympic Games

Lithuania's Citizenship Commission recommends the president against granting Lithuanian citizenship to American ice dancer Isabella Tobias who needs a Lithuanian passport to represent Lithuania at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games with her Lithuanian partner Deividas Stagniūnas.

"The Law on Citizenship requires meeting two criteria – exceptional merits to Lithuania and integration into the Lithuanian society. The Commission believes she does not meet either of the two criteria. The decision is to recommend against satisfying the request," Indrė Pukanasytė, a PresidentDalia Grybauskaitė's adviser and chairwoman of the Citizenship Commission, told BNS on Thursday.

The president has not made the final decision yet. The Commission's proposal is only advisory. The Commission met with Tobias at the Presidential Palace before Christmas.

Tobias and Stagniūnas have on numerous occasions stated that participating in Sochi Olympics was their main goal. But the American will not be able to take part in the games unless she is granted Lithuanian citizenship.

The pair came in 9th at the European Figure Skating Championships.

In 2009, President Grybauskaitė decided against granting Lithuanian citizenship to the then partner of Stagniūnas, Katherine Leigh Copely, following two recommendations of the Citizenship Commission which stated then that granting citizenship to Copely would run counter to the Constitution and laws.

BNS
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