Lithuania's Prosecutor General's Office said on Wednesday a separate pre-trial investigation into the 1991 Soviet crackdown on Lithuania's independence movement will be continued.
1991 sausio 13-osios įvykiai Lietuvoje
© ELTA

On April 30, a prosecutor decided to suspend the investigation but a higher-ranking prosecutor decided to cancel this decision, Elena Martinoniene, spokeswoman for the prosecution office, told BNS Lithuania.

The higher-ranking prosecutor decided that additional procedural actions need to be taken as part of the investigation, without elaborating.

In 2014, the investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes in 1991 was separated from the main case, which was closed and sent to a first-instance court that delivered its judgment earlier this year.

The decision to halt the investigation was criticized by Lithuania's then leader Vytautas Landsbergis and Robertas Povilaitis, whose father died in the January 13 events. Povilaitis, who has the status of a victim in the case, and Landsbergis said the prosecution office has not taken all action to bring those responsible to justice.

A Lithuanian court issued its ruling in the main case in March. The Vilnius Regional Court found Dmitry Yazov, a former Soviet defense minister, and more than 60 other former Soviet officials and military officers guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their involvement in the Soviet aggression in Vilnius on January 13, 1991.

A three-judge panel convicted Yazov in absentia and sentenced him to ten years in prison. Prosecutors had demanded life imprisonment for the 94-year-old former defense minister and another five defendants.

Vladimir Uskhopchik, the Soviet Army's former Vilnius garrison commander, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and Mikhail Golovatov, a former KGB officer, received 12 years.

A total of 67 citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus were handed prison sentences ranging from four to 14 years.

Russia rejected Lithuania's request to question former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the case.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded when the Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of January 13, 1991.

The Soviet Union used military force in an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government of Lithuania, which declared independence on March 11, 1990.

BNS
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