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Latvia allows its citizen Konstantin Mikhalov stand trial in Lithuania

Konstantinas Michailovas
Irmanto Gelūno / 15min nuotr. / Konstantin Mikhailov
Šaltinis: BNS
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Latvian prosecutors have no objections to having Konstantin Mikhailov, a convict in the Medininkai massacre, tried for crimes against humanity, a Lithuanian prosecutor working on the case said on Wednesday.

"The motion of the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office on extension of the terms of extradition has been satisfied, only the part in connection to the actions against the Republic of Latvia was refused," prosecutor Mindaugas Dūda said at a hearing of the Lithuanian Court of Appeals.

The Lithuanian prosecutor told journalists after the meeting that Latvia decided to "allow criminal prosecution under Article 100 of the Criminal Code and indicate that, as Mikhailov had previously stood trial in Latvia, he cannot be prosecuted for the deeds he has been found guilty of."

"This is the essence of the reply," Dūda said.

Article 100 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code envisages liability for treatment of human beings in a manner that is banned by the international law. The crime is listed among “war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Mikhailov's lawyer Arūnas Marcinkevičius shared a letter written by Latvian prosecutors to defense, which said that Latvia's "Prosecutor General's Office has no legal grounds for assessing qualification of a crime carried out by a judicial institution of a different state."

Meanwhile, Mikhailov's Latvian lawyer Oskars Ruode said after the hearing that Lithuania wanted to sentence the former Riga OMON agent twice for the same crime.

Nevertheless, prosecutor Dūda said there was "no problem" with bringing charges against Mikhailov under Article 100.

"The criminal deeds have been committed here in Lithuania, it should be qualified by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania. The things he did in Latvia have been qualified in line with Latvian laws," he said.

The next hearing is scheduled for 25 April.

Last May, a Vilnius court sentenced  Mikhailov (formerly Nikulin), former officer of the Soviet OMON special militia, to life imprisonment for killing Lithuanian officers on duty on 31 July 1991.

The ruling was later appealed by  Mikhailov, who is a Latvian citizen and has always pleaded not guilty, as well as by prosecutors who want to re-qualify charges against him.

Mikhailov refuses to stand trial on charges of crimes against humanity, therefore, a consent was requested from Latvia as a country that handed Mikhailov over to Lithuania in 2007.

A Vilnius court last year established that Mikhailov and other suspects, including former OMON officers Andrey Laktionov and Alexander Ryzhov, led by Cheslav Mlynik, intentionally killed seven Lithuanian officers: Mindaugas Balavakas and Algimantas  Juozakas  (officers of the Special Division ARAS), Juozas Janonis and Algirdas Kazlauskas (officers of the traffic police), Antanas Musteikis, Stanislovas Orlavičius and Ričardas Rabavičius (customs officers). The only survivor, customs officer Tomas Šernas, suffered severe brain damage and became disabled.

The massacre occurred at about 5 a.m. on 31 July 1991.

Russia has refused to extradite Laktyionov and Mlynik to Lithuania, no answer has been received in connection to Ryzhov, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office says in its website.

BNS
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