Judge Pranas Šimkus in the northern Lithuanian city of Panevėžys has withdrawn from hearing the case of Jonas Gailiūnas, 87, a former Soviet secret service agent who is standing trial for the deportation of Lithuanian people during the Soviet times.
© Reuters/Scanpix

According the Lietuvos Žinios daily, the defendant said a judge born in deportation cannot be impartial.

Gailiūnas' lawyer Raimundas Kurklietis said he was aware that Šimkus was born during the deportation of his parent and that some people in his family were Lithuanian resistance members who were tortured to death by the Soviets. Therefore, such a judge cannot impartially hear the case of a person accused of deportations, the lawyer said.

The judge said his deportation past would have not impeded the hearing of this case but nevertheless withdrew himself in response to the defendant's lawyer's request.

According to the information of the Genocide and resistance Research Center of Lithuania, Gailiūnas was a Soviet security officer and was involved in the deportation of people from Lithuania's Biržai area to the Russian region of Tomsk.

Gailiūnas denies his guilt.

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