Former Lithuanian judge and former MP Neringa Venckienė has been detained in Chicago, the United States, at Lithuania's request for refusing to obey a court order to hand over her niece to her mother.
Neringa Venckienė
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika
Updates throughout.

The Prosecutor General's Office and the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the process of the suspect's extradition to Lithuania ha d been initiated.

Prosecutor Tomas Krušna told journalists that the judicial proceedings were in progress in Chicago, adding that, according to earlier practices, the duration "could take years."

"We have information about the proceedings in Chicago and we must limit ourselves to informing about the factual course of the proceedings, not the content or the results," said Krušna, senior prosecutor of the Criminal Prosecution Department of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Edvardas Šileris, deputy police commissioner general, said that US and Lithuanian law-enforcement had long known the whereabouts of Venckienė in the United States.

"The address had been known for a rather long time, however, this involved legal procedures, and we should ask them about the timing of the decision," Šileris told journalists at the parliament.

Asked to specify the parties that were aware of the address, the official replied that it was not a secret "to all parties."

A large Lithuanian community resides in Chicago.

"In line with a plea filed by Lithuanian prosecutors, the United States of America initiated the judicial proceedings to extradite the suspect to the Republic of Lithuania. The person is subjected to detention as a supervision measure," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a press release earlier on Thursday.

Rasa Jakilaitienė, spokeswoman for Lithuania's foreign minister, told BNS that a court hearing took place on Wednesday where Venckienė asked to be released on a bail, however, the court overruled it.

Lithuania's parliament revoked Venckienė's MP mandate in June of 2014 for lengthy absence from court hearings.

Lithuanian law-enforcement want to charge her with refusing to obey a court order to hand over the small daughter of her brother Drąsius Kedys to the girl's mother Laimutė Stankūnaitė, as well as interfering with a bailiff's operations and resisting the police.

Venckienė's aunt Audronė Skučienė told BNS she had only heard about her detention from the media, adding she did not know her latest address in the US.

"No, we have no news. The most important thing for you is to have her back – then they will probably bring her or not. I truly don't know – the US law-enforcement has not told me where she is," Skučienė told BNS.


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