• 2002-07-04
Officers scolded after pro-Tibet scuffle

Vilnius Police Chief Erikas Kaliacius reprimanded six police officers for unprofessional behavior after they violently broke up a pro-Tibet demonstration against Chinese President Jiang Zemin earlier this month.

Kaliacius said after an investigation of the incident that the police had acted "lawfully, but not completely professionally."

The investigation was prompted by top-ranking government officials.

LRT, the state television channel, showed several pieces of footage of police surrounding, dragging and pushing people during the demonstration, which took place near the Vilnius International Airport.

Among those arrested were popular Lithuanian author and pro-Tibetan activist Jurga Ivanauskaite, who was shown on television being thrown into a police van. (Baltic News Service)

We're all friends now

Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius has invited Russian soldiers to participate in the international military exercise Amber Hope to be held in Lithuania next year.

Linkevicius made the suggestion at a meeting with his Russian colleague, Sergei Ivanov, in Moscow on July 1. Ivanov said he would consider the invitation.

If he agrees, it will be the first training exercise in Lithuania involving Russian soldiers.

Russian officials have been present at military exercises before as advisers, but Russian troops have never participated.

Linkevicius also invited two Russian navy ships to come to Lithuania's port in Klaipeda this year and suggested that two Russian officers should participate in seminars on environmental matters held at the Military Advanced Training Center located near Vilnius. (BNS)

Ad draws ire

Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga will ask Latvia's General Prosecutor's Office to examine a controversial television advertisement aired by the recently formed Freedom Party that she and others say is racist. Vike-Freiberga said in a radio interview July 2 that the ad was "unacceptable." The ad, which aired just a few times before it was pulled, featured a black man in a Latvian army uniform under a sign saying, "Today he defends your country, tomorrow he may become your son-in-law."

"I find it (the advertisement) totally unacceptable, and I think that such an attitude does not represent the attitude of the majority of Latvian people," she said.

Vike-Freiberga will request that the prosecutor's office also consider legislation concerning advertising guidelines.

Land sale ban proposed

Lithuanian lawmakers passed a resolution July 1 recommending the government seek a seven-year transition period in farm land sales to foreign entities in the country's pre-accession negotiations with the European Union.

The decision was passed 74 votes against 28, with 10 abstentions.

The resolution states, however, that the transition period should not apply to farmers of EU member states who have lived in Lithuania uninterruptedly for at least three years, have registered a farm and have been engaged in farming activities.

"This is a clear obligation to the government to reopen the negotiating chapter," said the deputy parliamentary chairman, Social Democrat Vytenis Andriukaitis. (BNS)

Estonia's most wanted

Dutch authorities July 1 arrested Antonio Angotti, a man wanted by Interpol and known in Estonia in connection with scandals connected to the privatization of Estonian Railways. Angotti is also wanted by Estonian police for submitting false data on an Estonian residence permit application and forged identification papers. Angotti's background, including criminal charges in the United States for money laundering and providing false information on a loan application, came to light after the firm he represented won a tender for the privatization of Estonian Railways. He left Estonia in February 2001, just hours before border guard officers received a warrant for his arrest. (BNS)

Ax murderer convicted

A regional court in Latvia on June 27 sentenced a 23-year-old man to life in prison and four others, including two minors, on lesser charges for the ax murder of two women during a robbery in Jekabpils last November.

Arturs Boganovics, 23, was convicted of first-degree in aggravating circumstances and large-scale theft and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Radims Kokins, 16, was sentenced to 15 years.

The other three defendants, who were not directly involved in the murders of the shop owner and her female assistant in Zasa village, were found guilty on theft and robbery charges and sentenced three to eight years each.

Boganovics overpowered the shop owner, who attacked him with an ax, and killed her and the assistant using the ax. (BNS)