VILNIUS – Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Wednesday that she regretted a Greek court's ruling against the extradition of Oleksandr Radkevich, a Ukrainian citizen convicted by a Vilnius court in the January 1991 Soviet crackdown case, to Lithuania, but gave no further comment.
"I can regret this decision, but I cannot provide detailed comments," she told reporters.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Greece decided not to hand Radkevich over to Lithuania, his lawyer Dmitris Dmitriadis, who is also Ukraine's honorary consul in Greece, confirmed to BNS.
Radkevich, 53, was detained in Greece last September, but it took some time for the authorities of the two countries to ascertain his identity. He was detained in Greece on a European arrest warrant issued by a Lithuanian court in August.
Several years ago, Vilnius Regional Court sentenced him to four years in prison for driving a tank involved in the events at the Lithuanian capital's Press House.
The Ukrainian appealed against the sentence to the Court of Appeal of Lithuania in December. He had the right to do so even though the verdict had become final, because his case was heard by the court of first instance in absentia.
The Court of Appeal has yet to issue its ruling.
In his letter to the Court of Appeal, the man said he was concerned that his case in Lithuania was political in nature, referring to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis' statement that it was "Lithuania's Nuremberg case".
The Ukrainian national is one of 67 people handed prison sentences in the mass trial. The majority of the defendants were convicted in absentia as Russia and Belarus refused to extradite them.
Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were injured 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 its attempt to remove the legitimate government of Lithuania which declared independence on March 11, 1990.