Two Jan. 13 coup plotters released

  • 2001-03-01
  • TBT staff
VILNIUS - Leonas Bartosevic, the former director of the Soviet Union Communist Party publishing house who was convicted of the 1991 coup attempt in Lithuania, was released from a prison hospital on Feb. 26.

Bartosevic, 72, was freed after 18 months of imprisonment, His wife and son and a group of journalists met him outside the prison gate.

Bartosevic, who has been diagnosed with a number of incurable ailments, spent most of his jail term in a prison hospital. His health deteriorated dramatically after he was put into prison following the verdict in August 1999.

Bartosevic was the second man convicted in the 1991 coup attempt to be released from prison. Jaroslav Prokopovic, 55, was released from the Vilnius' Lukiskes Prison on Feb. 23. An appeals court last week shortened Bartosevic's sentence to 1.5 years, which included time served.

Three others - Mykolas Burokevicius, 73, the former leader of the pro-Moscow Lithuanian Communist Party, Juozas Jermalavicius, 61, and Juozas Kuolelis, 70, remain in prison.

Other suspects evaded punishment by fleeing to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

In an armed attempt by Soviet and KGB troops on Jan. 13, 1991 to overthrow the Lithuanian government, 14 civilians died and hundreds were wounded.

Vytautas Bogusis, a famous anti-Soviet dissident, called for the release of the remaining prisoners, arguing that they are not dangerous to society.

"They can go to Moscow and create their communism there if they wish to," Bogusis said.