Lithuania's ex-politician charged with spying asks for milder surveillance conditions

  • 2020-08-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Algirdas Paleckis, a former Lithuanian politician charged with spying for Russia, on Tuesday asked Siauliai Regional Court to soften the terms of intensive surveillance, the measure of restrain imposed on him.  

Vytautas Joncas, a spokesman for the court, told BNS that Paleckis asked the court to extend the hours during which he is allowed to be away from home, because he intends to start working again and needs extra time for trips to work.

The court is expected to decide whether to grant the request on Thursday. 

Currently, Paleckis must stay at home from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is prohibited from travelling outside Vilnius, except when he needs to be present at court. 

Deimantas Bertauskas, another defendant, was also questioned during the trial, which is held behind closed doors. 

Paleckis and Bertauskas, a businessman, were charged with spying for the benefit of a foreign country in an organized group. While the latter admits his guilt, Paleckis denies any wrongdoing, saying he was conducting a journalistic investigation.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, the defendants, acting in an organized group with a Russian intelligence officer and other Russian citizens, including one found guilty in the January 13, 1991 crackdown case, allegedly collected information of interest for Russian intelligence in Lithuania between February 2017 and October 2018 for monetary and other remuneration. 

"Other remuneration" included assistance in establishing contacts with representatives of a Russian political party to secure funding for one of the political parties registered in Lithuania, as well as assistance in establishing business ties.

Prosecutors say the defendants were also tasked with collecting information on officers and judges who worked on the January 13 case in Lithuania, and on other cases related to Russia's aggression in Lithuania in 1990-1991.

Among other things, the defendants allegedly had to find people working for Lithuanian institutions who would agree to provide false information to Lithuanian law enforcement institutions about the health state of Yuri Mel in exchange for unlawful monetary remuneration, in an attempt to replace his detention with a milder measure of restraint or improve his detention conditions.