Adamkus: Citizens will be protected

  • 2007-07-10
  • From wire reports

QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED: Adamkus stressed the need for diplomatic pressure to be maintained (Pic by permission of the Office of the President of Lithuania)

VILNIUS - Lithuanian authorities must take proper care of its citizens when they get into difficulties in neighboring Kaliningrad, President Valdas Adamkus said July 9.

Adamkus was responding to reports about Lithuanian citizen Stanislovas Jucius, 56, who went missing on April 18 and whose family are becoming increasingly worried about his whereabouts and health.

Several Lithuanians are currently missing in Kaliningrad, with little information available about their fates.

"We must make every effort to find out what happened to them. First of all, the fate of the first one [Stanislovas Jucius] is unknown. I am positive that the appropriate institutions - both diplomatic and governmental - are not just twiddling their thumbs," Adamkus told the media, adding: "We must do everything to at least know where he is."

In the absence of hard facts, increasingly colorful rumors have been circulating that the businessman might have been killed to eliminate him from the profitable business of residential land development, that he may be in hiding after a local turf war with competitors and even that he might be paying the price for having an affair with the wife of an influential Kaliningrad resident.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry authorized Lithuania's consul general in Kaliningrad to ask local authorities why no information is being released on Lithuanian citizens in distress or under arrest.

The Foreign Ministry reiterated that any Lithuanian citizen abroad has the right to demand of the local authorities that his or her detention or any other event to which he or she is a party be reported to the Lithuanian diplomatic representation.

Director of the Foreign Ministry's Information and Public Relations Department Violeta Gaizauskaite told BNS that when foreign law enforcement agencies do not show any inclination to cooperate with the Lithuanian authorities, it is very difficult to lend assistance.

She further suggested that Lithuanian investors must give a serious thought to the risks attached to doing business in countries with questionable legal and diplomatic frameworks.

Jucius is the second businessman from Lithuania to have met with serious difficulaties in Kaliningrad during the last three months.

An attempt was recently made on the life of Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Juchnievic, who had been living in Svetlogorsk for 17 years. Like Jucius, he runs a company engaged in the construction of luxury homes. During the attempted 'hit', Juchnievic was shot in the arm and stomach.

After the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry requested information, the Russian Prosecutor General's Department launched an investigation, but no conclusions have been forthcoming.