Medininkai massacre case closed on one suspect

  • 2009-01-19
  • TBT staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania's Prosecutor General's Office hasclosed the investigation on one of the suspects in the Medininkai massacrecase.

Prosecutors had gatheredenough information to confirm that Konstantin Mikhailov, an ex militiaman ofthe Soviet Union Interior Ministry Special Purpose Police Squad (OMON) in Riga was guilty of having been a part ofthe massacre.

Accordingto BNS, the suspect,kept in custody in the Lukiskes Inquisition Ward, was informed of the end ofinvestigation on Jan. 16. As per Lithuanianlegislation, the suspect will be given time to familiarize himself  with and analyze the case, which will then go directlyto trial. The time frame is still unknown.

Mikhailov, 40, is the onlysuspect in the Medininkai case to be officially charged with the suspicion ofhaving partaken in the murder of seven Lithuanianofficers, and the sole suspect accessible to investigators and the court.Mikhailov has been accused of first degree murder of two or more persons, whichis punishable with a life sentence.

The suspect in the nearly18-year-old murder case of seven Lithuanianofficers and the injury of one more was detained by Latvian authorities on Nov. 28 2008under the European arrest warrant issued by Lithuania.

Investigation is alsounderway for other suspected OMON members, squad commander Ceslov Mlynik, andmilitiamen Aleksander Ryzhov and Andrej Laktionov, who are yet to be extraditedby Russia to Lithuania. The investigations are beingconducted separately on those cases.

On the morning of July 31 1991,Soviet militiamen, murdered border guards Antanas Musteikis, StanislovasOrlavicius, Aras SWAT unit officers Algimantas Juozakas and MindaugasBalavakas, road police employees Juozas Janonis and Algirdas Kazlauskas. Alldied with shots to the head.

The sole officer whosurvived the attack was Tomas Sernas, who also sustained serious injuries atthe time of the attack.

The data collected in theprocess of the pre-trial investigation allowed the prosecutors to suspect thatthe crime was done by hitmen of the former Soviet Union's militia special operations unitOMON from Riga, who were visiting the OMON base inVilniuson July 30, 1991.

The investigation of themanslaughter at Medininkai checkpoint is hindered by the fact that the suspectsand many important witnesses reside in Russia.

The seven officers arebelieved to have been killed in Medininkai to cause confusion at the customs ofLithuania, having freshly declared independence.