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Published: 12 june 2012 17:09

Algirdas Paleckis found guilty of denying Soviet aggression

Algirdas Paleckis
Luko Balandžio nuotr. / Algirdas Paleckis

A Vilnius court annulled earlier court ruling and found Algirdas Paleckis, controversial leader of the Socialist People's Front, guilty of denying Soviet aggression.

The ruling announced on Tuesday imposes upon Paleckis a fine of 10,400 litas (EUR 3,015).

Judge Regina Pocienė said in the verdict that Paleckis "aimed to deny and grossly downplay the fact of the 1991 aggression and did this in a public and insulting manner."

"The freedom of opinion and beliefs is inconsistent with criminal deeds," the judge said.

"Snipers were firing from rooftops, no court can deny this any longer and people know this. We, who defend the truth, will triumph sooner or later. There is one ruling today, there will be a different one tomorrow," Paleckis told journalists in comment on the verdict.

He added he would probably file an appeal against the Tuesday's ruling. He has three months to file the appeal with the Supreme Court of Lithuania.

Paleckis  was charged with denying Soviet aggression following his statement to the press in 2010 when he commented on attempts of the Soviet Union to overthrow the then Lithuania's government in early 1991. Paleckis said that "our own people were shooting at our own people." This was the first verdict in Lithuania's history on charges of denying aggressive conduct of the Soviet Union.

In mid-January, another Vilnius court concluded that Paleckis did not follow the objective of denying the aggression and casualties, also ruling that the opinion stated by Paleckis was not his personal but that of other sources specified during the hearing.

Vilnius prosecutors filed an appeal against the verdict, asking for Paleckis to be sent to prison for a year.

Fourteen unarmed civilians were killed and more than 1,000 were injured during the attempts of the Soviet army and special units to take over the Television Tower and the building of Lithuania's National Radio and Television on 13 January 1991. Soviet soldiers did not attempt to attack the Supreme Council that had previously proclaimed Lithuania's independence on 11 March 1990.

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