Please, react to the crimes of the Lithuanian government!

31 08 2017

Letter to many human rights organisations asking to react to political murders, use of psychiatric facilities for imprisonment and murdering of dissidents and other crimes that are being committed in Lithuania.

Letter to human rights organisations: Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, UN Watch, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and many others

Giedrius Šarkanas

31st of August 2017

Dear friends

Please, condemn in the strongest terms and call for thorough internal and international investigations of:

1. The recent murder of the Lithuanian police whistle-blower Skaista Rakauskienė after her year-long imprisonment and torture in a strict regime psychiatric hospital;

2. The obvious murders of the Lithuanian dissenters Julius Vedeckis, Igoris Krinickis, Žilvinas Šumskis, Kazys Žaltauskas, Vladas Bieliauskas, Gintaras Beresnevičius, and Juras Abromavičius;

3. Use of coercive psychiatry and psychiatric facilities by the law enforcement agencies and judiciary of Lithuania to intimidate, imprison, humiliate, torture, and murder political opponents of the government, independent journalists, whistle-blowers, and human rights activists;

4. Violations by the Lithuanian authorities of freedom of speech and other basic rights and freedoms of political opponents, independent journalists, whistle-blowers, and human rights activists, the persecutions of them for their critical attitudes towards the government or its policies;

5. Glorification of the accomplices of the Nazis and other post-war Lithuanian terrorists by the authorities of Lithuania, the absence of investigation into their obvious crimes against humanity whose victims were thousands of civilians, including even little children.

Please, do not discriminate Lithuania and Lithuanians and react firmly to those above-mentioned crimes like you have reacted to the genocide and war crimes in Turkey and Somalia, the murders of Magnitsky, Politkovskaya, Nemtsov, and others, to the imprisonment of Savchenko and Xiaobo, to human rights abuses in many other countries around the world. Let me explain a little more.

Skaista Rakauskienė was tortured and brutally murdered by the government

Ms. Skaista Rakauskienė was a retired Lithuanian policewoman who decided to speak and write in public about the relations between illicit drugs traders and the police in Kaunas, the second largest city of Lithuania. When the police accused her of slander and started a criminal case against her, Rakauskienė fled to Russia and asked for political asylum there. However, her request was rejected. On the 19th January 2016 Rakauskienė was arrested in Lithuania and soon thereafter sent to Rokiškis’ strict regime psychiatric hospital.

Rakauskiene spent almost a year in the hospital. She was placed in one ward together with a mentally ill murderess and suffered from her violent behaviour. Months of humiliation, malnutrition and stuffy air ruined her health. Rakauskienė received no medical treatment at all; her heart condition deteriorated; she almost went blind.

Rakauskienė was released from Rokiškis hospital (thrown into the street) on the 26th January 2017. On the 4th February she died.

Shortly before her release from the hospital Rakauskienė was forcibly given an injection of a strong psychotropic drug, that most probably was deadly in her poor condition. Her body was quickly buried in an unknown place, and none of the persons who communicated with Rakauskienė during her imprisonment in the hospital and organised public protests demanding to release her knows anything more about it.

Dissenters are murdered in Lithuania on a regular basis

Skaista Rakauskienė was just an ordinary victim. Just few months before her death, one of the campaigners for her liberation, an active Lithuanian human rights fighter Julius Vedeckis was found murdered at his home in Radviliškis. The police quickly closed their ‘investigation’.

Many Lithuanians who were trying to resist abhorrent human rights violations by the regime, to speak and write about widespread corruption among the Lithuanian law enforcement agencies and judiciary died in mysterious circumstances.

Now I am asking you to call for international investigation into the deaths of Julius Vedeckis, Igoris Krinickis, Žilvinas Šumskis, Kazys Žaltauskas, Vladas Bieliauskas, Gintaras Beresnevičius, Juras Abromavičius, and perhaps some other outstanding Lithuanians most probably killed by the police or other similar agencies of the government.

I would prefer the gas cameras of Auschwitz to the ‘treatment’ by Lithuanian psychiatrists

I consider the way Skaista Rakauskienė was killed extraordinary abhorrent. The Nazis treated and killed the majority of their prisoners in a clearly more humane way than the government of Lithuania treats their critics nowadays, and personally I would rather die in the Auschwitz of 1943 than in the Rokiškis of 2017.

Rakauskiene was not the only victim of the punitive psychiatry of the Lithuanian government. E.g. Kazys Žaltauskas, an outstanding artist from Kaunas, died at the age of 49, shortly after his 3-months-long imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital for an ‘examination’, from which he was released gravely ill, just like later Skaista Rakauskienė.

Some Lithuanians have managed to survive such coercive treatment in Lithuanian psychiatric hospitals. Usually such patients are either stuffed with very strong psychotropic drugs that have tremendous side effects or kept isolated for a long time without any medical assistance. Their general medical condition deteriorates; the prisoners with various health problems are pushed close to death. Then they are suddenly thrown out from the hospital.

Public health protection in Lithuania is based on cronyism, nepotism, and corruption; ordinary people have to wait 1 to 3 months to see the doctor they urgently need. Therefore, those indigent seriously-ill patients who have no friends or relatives among medics (thrown into the street dopey after treatment with strong psychotropic drugs) are supposed to die immediately, as it happened in the cases of Rakauskienė and Žaltauskas. However, some victims who luckily had friends among doctors and, therefore, timely received the medical treatment they needed have survived, and they are telling horrifying stories. I do not want to mention their names here because such people often die ‘accidentally’ or suddenly ‘commit suicides’ in Lithuania, as it has happened to Vladas Bieliauskas and Žilvinas Šumskis.

Please also publicly condemn the criminal misuse of psychiatry by the Lithuanian government and call for international investigation into it!

The possibility of imprisonment in Lithuanian psychiatric hospitals also serves as a legitimate means of intimidation and is widely used by the police, prosecution, and courts. If a Lithuanian demands the law enforcement agencies and judiciary to respect his legitimate rights or even tries to sue its members (e.g. policemen who once tortured him), Lithuanian courts are likely to administer him a ‘psychiatric expert examination in a hospital’. If such a person is not rich enough to hire a certain lawyer who could bribe the judge of the higher court, he most likely will be sent to a psychiatric hospital for at least 10 days. E.g. Vincentas Jokimas, a schoolteacher from the district of Kaunas, who tried to sue 4 policemen that had once allegedly physically tortured him, was sent to such ‘expert examination’ as many as 3 (!) times; once he was detained at the court by the colleagues of the persons he was trying to sue and forcibly delivered to a psychiatric hospital. Current Lithuanian law practically entitles judges to send any not well-off person they do not like to a psychiatric hospital just to demonstrate their superiority, and the judges really enjoy this right of theirs.

The possibility of degrading, humiliating, and practically torturing a person via imprisoning him in a psychiatric hospital is legitimately used by Lithuanian judges as a means of intimidation of not well-off Lithuanians. E.g. if a defendant (an independent journalist accused of ‘inciting hatred towards the Lithuanian State’) decides to exercise his right not to witness against himself at court (this right is explicitly guaranteed by the Lithuanian Constitution), Lithuanian judges threaten him outright with i.a. psychiatric expert examination. If such a defendant nonetheless refuses to confess to the crimes the court wants him to admit to have committed, the judge invites a special court ‘psychiatrist’ who brutally harasses the defendant, intimidates, humiliates, and degrades him turning the whole process into a continuous torture for the defendant.

The highest Lithuanian judicial authority for such cases has recently stated that such practices–threatening the defendant with a psychiatric examination if he refuses to abstain from his procedural rights; ordering a psychiatrist to harass such a non-compliant defendant at the court hearing; etc.– are completely legal and legitimate in Lithuania.

Nonetheless, using psychiatry and psychiatric facilities to murder, imprison, torture, downgrade, and humiliate people that the government wants to shut up, to intimidate them into abstaining from their basic rights and freedoms clearly violates a number of international conventions. Therefore, I am also asking you to call for an international investigation into the obviously criminal misuse of psychiatry by the government of Lithuania.

Freedom of speech is practically abolished in Lithuania. Please react!

Those Lithuanians who are close to the ruling regime can treat the people they do not like however they want. E.g. they can publicly downgrade and humiliate Russians, Russian-speakers, Gypsies, Ukrainian separatists, homosexuals, religious minorities, etc. Teachers teach their students at school that gays are perverts, cannibals, that they rape children, etc. There have been numerous calls to beat gays, send them to a psychiatric hospital, etc. and the Supreme Court of Lithuania has repeatedly legitimised such practices.

However, the few critics of the government and its principal politics that still remain in Lithuania are being prosecuted; their homes are raided by the police and their private property is confiscated; their freedom is restricted; their businesses and private lives are ruined. E.g. the media are presently laughing at and mocking Vaidas Lekstutis, the organiser of a popular and successful resistance movement against the government’s plans to start slate gas mining in Lithuania, who has been recently sentenced to 100 hours of public works and thus publicly humiliated for a couple of his statements that sound childishly innocent compared to the everyday shameless mockery and humiliation of various exposed minorities by the protagonists of the regime.

Now 3 political opponents of the regime Oleg Titorenko, Žilvinas Razminas, and Giedrius Grabauskas are being prosecuted for their calls to peacefully oppose the introduction of the euro as the national currency and deployment of NATO’s troops in Lithuania. Although foreign military bases are utterly forbidden by Article 137 of the formally valid Constitution of Lithuania, any public protests against them are declared anti-state action. As far as I know, the homes of all the Lithuanians who have ever appeared in public with posters showing their negative attitude towards Lithuania’s NATO membership or deployment of foreign troops in Lithuania have been raided and many of their valuable private items (computers, cameras, etc.) have been confiscated by the police. The media have described the considerable financial losses of such people with a jubilation clearly intended to discourage Lithuanians from expressing any opinions not approved by the government.

Formally, criticising the government or its policies is not forbidden in Lithuania. However, many critics of the government are fiercely persecuted and formally charged; their homes are raided and property is confiscated by the police; their health and lives are undermined by years of prosecution, countless police inquiries, court hearings, harassment by court psychiatrists, etc. As the main expert of the government on such matters Laimutis Laužikas has unambiguously explained at a court hearing, ‘harsh criticism of the government and its policies incites hatred towards the Lithuanian State, hence also towards Lithuanians, the founders of the State, as an ethnic group.’ Any public expression of an independent opinion or religious belief can be interpreted by the Lithuanian law enforcement agencies and judiciary as offensive and humiliating towards people with mainstream political opinions and religious beliefs and, therefore, constituting a criminal offence. According to Laužikas, even such a phrase as, ‘men are already discriminated in Lithuania,’ is hate speech as it ‘incites hatred towards women.’ The police and prosecution of Lithuania has used this phrase to start a criminal case against an independent journalist, to confiscate his personal items, to limit his freedom and to sue him in court. Thus in practice any criticism of any governmental policies can be and often is interpreted as hate speech by the Lithuanian police, prosecution and courts although they all brazenly ignore the utterly racist mockery and calls for violence against native speakers of Russian, Gypsies, homosexual people, religious minorities, and other truly vulnerable social groups.

Please react and press the Lithuanian regime to allow its critics to enjoy at least the basic human rights and freedoms formally guaranteed by the basic international conventions. Long years of police raids, prosecution, limited freedom, intimidation, humiliation and harassment destroy their lives no matter the final court sentence.

Accomplices of Nazis and perpetrators of crimes against humanity are worshipped in Lithuania

At the end of the Second World War, the retreating Nazis organised in Lithuania a network of guerillas intended to resist the Soviet Army after their retreat. Later the Nazis supported them by air, even threw down some of their specially trained agents from planes to act as commanders for the guerillas.

At first, the guerillas tried to fight the Soviet military forces; after the end of the war however, they changed their tactics to terrorising ordinary Lithuanians off cooperating with the Soviet government. The guerillas would come at night and beat, torture, and kill those whom they considered ‘collaborators’, often with their whole families. Some of the guerillas got into the habit of defiling the bodies of their victims. Since 1946 the Lithuanian guerrillas turned into ordinary terrorists, just much more cruel and cowardly than those who are now harassing European cities.

As Mindaugas Pocius has documented in his book ‘The other side of the Moon: the fight of the Lithuanian guerillas against collaboration in 1944-1953,’ the guerillas killed at least 8 852 civilians, including appr. 300 children. It is clear that the actual number of their victims was much higher.

Nonetheless the blatantly criminal and pro-Nazi regime that came to power in Lithuania in the Nineties declared the post-war terrorists legitimate representatives of the Republic of Lithuania. According to international law, it means that their obviously systematic crimes against civilians who have certain political attitudes must be qualified as crimes against humanity or war crimes without any limitation period. It is obvious that there exists a legal obligation to investigate the crimes committed by the post-war terrorists, to pay homage to their victims and, probably, to pay compensations to the descendants of the victims.

However, the regime continues to glorify and officially worship the post-war terrorists, presenting them as paragons for schoolchildren. Lithuanian courts continue to sentence former Soviet employees who contributed to their liquidation 70 years ago to years in prison for ‘GENOCIDE’ (!). The police and prosecution actively persecute the independent journalists and other persons who speak in public about the crimes of post-war terrorists and call for justice for their victims.

Please call for an international investigation into the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Lithuanian post-war terrorists in 1944-1953!

best wishes

Giedrius Šarkanas

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