VILNIUS - Lithuanian law-enforcement bodies apparently have strong reasons to keep Algirdas Paleckis, a politician suspected of spying for Russia, in custody for "quite a long period of time", Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Thursday.
"It seems quite a long period of time, and we've had a number of cases lost by the state at the European Court of Human Rights, with one of the arguments being a disproportionate and a too-lengthy remand period," Skvernelis told the Ziniu Radijas radio station on Thursday.
"But I'm not aware of the scope of the pre-trial investigation. It is a sensitive investigation involving the national security of our country and it is not a simple case. Apparently, the arguments the (law-enforcement) bodies give to the court which decides on remand periods are strong and significant," he said.
Skvernelis declined to comment in more detail on the issue.
The Lithuanian Court of Appeal last Monday dismissed Paleckis' appeal against a lower court's decision to remand him in custody for another three months.
Vilma Vidugiriene of the Prosecutor General's Office said in December they expected to conclude the pre-trial investigation in which Paleckis is a suspect by the spring of 2020.
The former leader of the Socialist People's Front, along with an unidentified "network of persons", is suspected of illegally gathering information on law-enforcement officials and judges involved in the January 1991 crackdown case, and other data for Russia.
Paleckis, who has been held in custody since his arrest in October 2018, denies any wrongdoing.