Lietuva in brief - 2006-02-01

  • 2006-02-01
The opposition has expressed indignation over Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas' meeting with Belarusian presidential candidate Alexander Kozulin, who heads the country's Social Democratic Party, Hramada. Opposition leader Andrius Kubilius said that the meeting demonstrated Brazauskas' support of splitting the united Belarusian opposition. "Brazauskas is not meeting the united opposition candidate Milinkevich but the Belarusian Social Democratic Party candidate Kozulin instead, who is splitting the opposition… Lukashenko should commend Brazauskas for this," said Kubilius, who heads the Homeland Union.

Some 71 residents with gambling addictions sent their data and photographs to the State Gaming Control Commission so that casinos could refuse their entry. The preventive measure, currently being applied experimentally, is planned to be formalized in law, State Gaming Control Commission chairman Ceslovas Blazys told a news conference this week. "Such a willingness is not yet stipulated by law. We believe the categories of persons with no admittance to gambling institutions should be amended with one more group, thus applying restrictions not only due to a person's age but also at his own request," said Blazys. In 2004, the State Gaming Control Commission agreed to launch a voluntary gambling restriction program in cooperation with gambling organizers.

The Vilnius Second House of Corrections saw an unprecedented event in the nation's history of prisons: a husband and wife convict-pair was allowed to have an extended tete-a-tete. The two-day meeting ended on Jan. 27 at around noon, when the 35-year-old wife was taken back to Panevezys, a spokesman for the Prisons Department reported. The convict husband had asked the administration to let him spend some quality time with his wife, who is serving a sentence at a correctional facility in Panevezys. Although such a possibility is stipulated in the Penal Code, it has never been exercised before. The marriage of the two convicts was registered on April 1, 2004, in Lukiskes' interrogation unit-prison.

Border guards detained two cigarette smugglers as they were attempting to cross the icebound Nemunas River along the Kaliningrad border on skates. One of the suspects was wearing a karate kimono. The two Lithuanian citizens, pushing a sled loaded with boxes, were apprehended on Jan. 28. The skates, which could have helped the smugglers to escape on the Nemunas ice, only impeded their attempts due to high snowdrifts. Border guards believe the white kimono one of the men was wearing was meant to disguise the smugglers.

An officer of the Defense Ministry's Second Investigation Department was detained amid an arms-trade investigation. State Security Department officers arrested former MP Algirdas Petrusevicius, one of Lithuania's arms creators, and three others suspected of illegal possession and trade in arms. One of them is a sergeant of Vytautas the Great Jaegers Battalion. "It would be easier to say what was not there than name all the discovered guns, machine-guns, mines, and ammunition," an officer told the Lietuvos Rytas daily.