A regional court in Panevėžys, northern Lithuania, has cleared the country's first post-independence interior minister Marijonas Misiukonis of genocide charges.
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

He was tried for the death of Antanas Kraujelis-Siaubūnas who is considered to have been Lithuania's last freedom fighter, a spokeswoman for the court told BNS.

The ruling can still be appealed to the Court of Appeals within 20 days.

The prosecutors in the case had asked the court to sentence Misiukonis to six and a half years in prison.

"First of all, signs of genocide were not identified in the case as genocide cannot be committed against one person. Second, there was no motive identified to kill Kraujelis. There was no evidence that Misiukonis knew who Kraujelis was. Misiukonis had worked for the KGB for a year and only knew that Kraujalis must be detained," Gudelienė, the spokeswoman, told BNS.

Misiukonis, 75, is the only surviving defendant in the case. Three more individuals were charged in the same case, but died before the hearings were opened.

The case was suspended for a few years until the Constitutional Court's ruling on the definition of genocide.

Kraujelis was one of the last partisan fighters against the Soviet occupation after World War Two. He acted until March 1965 and shot himself after KGB agents surrounded the property he was hiding in.

BNS
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