Viewing cable 05VILNIUS1271
Title: LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR AGAIN CHALLENGES EDITOR'S

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS12712005-12-02 15:43:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 001271 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/OHI AND EUR/NB 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PHUM SOCI LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN PROSECUTOR AGAIN CHALLENGES EDITOR'S 
ANTI-SEMITISM 
 
REF: A. VILNIUS 706 
 
     ¶B. VILNIUS 1223 
     ¶C. VILNIUS 1029 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1. (U) Lithuania's Prosecutor General has filed a final 
appeal of the court order to dismiss the case against the 
newspaper owner and editor Vitas Tomkus for distributing 
allegedly anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual articles two years 
ago.  The new appeal argues that the court erred by 
considering the case on procedural grounds rather than on its 
merits.  A statement supporting the appeal represents the 
first public act of the newly-appointed Prosecutor General. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
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A final protest against anti-Semitism 
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¶2. (U) The lead prosecutor of the Prosecutor General's 
Office, Rimvydas Valentukevicius filed a special appeal with 
the Chief Administrative Court (CAC) November 10 asking the 
judges to reconsider their September 19 reversal of judgments 
against Vitas Tomkus, owner and editor of the second largest 
national daily (Respublika), and three co-editors, previously 
found guilty of distributing a series of anti-Semitic 
articles they had published.  The CAC had overturned the USD 
1,100 judgment on technical grounds in September, finding 
that the July trial convicting Tomkus of publishing hate 
speech (ref A) was a form of "double jeopardy" because a 
previous pre-trial investigation by the prosecutor's office 
had found no grounds for charges. 
 
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Judicial error and a bad precedent 
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¶3. (U) Valentukevicius told us that he believes the CAC erred 
in applying European Court of Human Rights precedent in its 
decision, and should not have annulled the verdict.  He said 
that if the CAC rejects his current appeal, it will leave no 
further opportunity to appeal the decision or to prosecute 
the Respublika case.  The Court could consider the appeal 
during the current term, but likely will delay consideration 
until early 2006. 
 
¶4. (U) Kestutis Cilinskas, an attorney and Chairman of the 
Board of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, told us that 
he believes the CAC did not follow "normal legal practice" 
when it annulled the lower court judgment.  He also commented 
that if this decision stands, it will make it difficult to 
prosecute similar cases in the future.  Cilinskas was not 
convinced that the judges would reverse themselves, but 
believed that they will carefully consider the appeal due to 
the case's high profile. 
 
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Pressure from outside... 
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¶5. (U) Coalition political parties were quick to come out 
against Valentukevicius's attempts to resuscitate the case 
against Tomkus, with all four issuing press releases 
expressing concern about his actions.  The statements 
criticized the prosecutor's decision to appeal, encouraging 
the new PG to focus on more serious crimes. 
 
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...and support from above 
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¶6. (U) New Prosecutor General Algimantas Valentinas, during 
his early November confirmation hearing in Parliament, 
stressed the importance of resisting political influence and 
maintaining an independent prosecutor's office.  According to 
Valentukevicius, the new PG is living up to that pledge, 
giving Valentukevicius both public and behind-the-scenes 
support in his pursuit of the Tomkus case. 
 
¶7. (U) Arnoldas Pranckevicius, an advisor to President 
Adamkus, confirmed that the Presidency is still following 
this issue closely.  He also said that the President strongly 
believes in the independence of the new Prosecutor General 
and trusts that he will not be subject to any external 
influence, whether from politicians or Tomkus. 
 
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Comment 
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¶8. (U) GOL prosecutors, from the new Prosecutor General on 
down, are willing to combat anti-Semitism with every weapon 
in their legal arsenal.  Tomkus can wield substantial 
influence, but President Adamkus and prosecutors like 
Valentukevicius and Valentinas are not afraid to stand up to 
him. 
MULL