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Published: 4 september 2012 15:27

Lithuanian Court of Appeals rejects Konstantin Mikhailov's appeal

Konstantinas Michailovas
BFL/Tomo Lukšio nuotr. / Konstantin Mikhailov

Lithuania's Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal by Konstantin Mikhailov, a former Riga OMON hitman sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the Medininkai checkpoint massacre in Lithuania. Mikhailov asked to be released until a ruling of a court of second instance.

The news was confirmed to BNS by Judge Aloyzas Kruopys, president of the Court of Appeals' judicial college hearing Mikhailov's appeal.

The appeal was lodged on Monday, and the verdict was issued on Tuesday.

"He motivated his request saying that he is innocent and that the statute of limitations has been reached. We said answers to those questions cannot be given yet and they will be given later when we finish the case. These motives are not resolved at this stage," the judge told BNS.

Kruopys said Mikhailov remains in custody as he might escape justice and go into hiding.

Seven police and customs officers were shot to death at the Medininkai checkpoint on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border during the attack in early hours of 31 July 1991. The only survivor, customs officer Tomas Sernas, suffered severe brain damage and became disabled.

Merely one individual has been convicted for the crime – Mikhailov, a Latvian citizen formerly known as Nikulin, was found guilty in spring 2011.

Lithuanian prosecutors have filed an appeal against the verdict, seeking that Mikhailov should be sentenced for crimes against humanity. An appeal against the ruling was also lodged by the convict who categorically denies his involvement in the crime.

Lithuanian prosecutors have also charged three more OMON officers - Cheslav Mlynik, Andrey Laktyonov and Alexander Ryzhov – of the massacre and issued European arrest warrants, however, Moscow has refused to extradite them.

BNS
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