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Lithuanian Party Leader Fined for 'Denial of Soviet Aggression'

RIA Novosti

23:19 06/08/2012 VILNIUS, August 6 (RIA Novosti) - Lithuania's leader of the Socialist People's Front, Algirdas Paleckis, has been found guilty and paid a fine of just over $4,000 for "denying Soviet aggression against Lithuania and its people," the SNF information center reported on Monday.

Paleckis became the first person in Lithuania's history to be charged under the country's Article 170 "On Denial of Soviet Occupation." In February 2011, Paleckis said during a radio interview about the January 1991 events near the Vilnius Television Tower: "As it turns out, our people fired upon our own people."

At the beginning of the fall of the Soviet Union, which Lithuania was a part of, 14 unarmed civilians were killed and some 700 injured when the Soviet military attempted to take control of the tower on January 13, 1991.

A court in January of this year acquitted Paleckis for lack of evidence in a crime; however, a regional court ruled upon an appeal by the Prosecutor General's Office that he was acquitted without grounds and ordered him to pay a fine.

Paleckis' fine was paid by his backers who transferred money onto an account meant for that particular purpose, and thanked them for their support.

Since the politician was able to pay his fine before the 65-day cutoff period before parliamentary elections are held in the country, he will be able to run for office.

Paleckis said he plans to appeal the charge and fine to the Supreme Court in September and, if necessary, will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.



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