The ALDE leader expressed concern over the condition of the Russian national minority in the Baltic states, referring particularly to the trial of the Labor Party's former leader Viktor Uspaskich.
"I do not contest the accusations against Mr. Uspaskich, but I fear the role of your judiciary requires examination," Watson said, urging the Baltic states take measures in connection to the official stance on ethnic Russians.
The Lithuanian Liberal Movement said the leader of ALDE, the EP group that also includes members of the Liberal Movement and the Labor Party, did not harmonize the statement with the group members.
"We stand aside from the statement by ALDE leader Graham Watson, which expressed concern over the situation of the Russian ethnic minority in the Baltic states, referring particularly to the case of the Labor Party's leader Uspaskich. We think that such statements by the ALDE leader shortly before the pronouncement of the verdict in the black bookkeeping trial are disproportionate and inappropriate, as well as probably exerting additional pressure upon our country's courts," the Liberal Movement said in a communiqué.
Eligijus Masiulis, the leader of the Liberal Movement, says the alliance's leaders should "refrain from statements with similar content in the future and be more careful in harmonizing their positions with members of the ALDE group at the European Parliament."
The Labor Party is on trial for failing to include more than 24 million litas (EUR 6.9m) in income and 23 million litas in spending in its books in the 2004-2006 period. On charges of organizing the bookkeeping fraud and other crimes, Uspaskich may be sentenced to six years in prison, with the verdict to be pronounced on July 12.