Viewing cable 06VILNIUS814
Title: SUBJECT LINE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06VILNIUS8142006-09-01 13:46:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 SECRET Embassy Vilnius
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P 011346Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
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RUEHSK/AMEMBASSY MINSK PRIORITY 1811
S E C R E T VILNIUS 000814 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2016 
TAGS: PREL BO LH
SUBJECT: SUBJECT LINE 
 
REF: MINSK 933 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Political/Economic Section Chief Rebecca Dunh 
am for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (S) Lithuanian officials do not believe that Belarusian 
authorities were behind the death of Lithuanian diplomat 
Vytautas Pociunas.  Pociunas, who worked as a security 
advisor to the Lithuanian consulate in Grodno, was found dead 
following a fall from the ninth-story window of an Inturist 
hotel in Brest August 23. 
 
¶2. (S) Jonas Paslauskas, MFA's Americas Department Director 
and Lithuania's former Ambassador to Belarus, told us August 
30 that he had spoken with Pociunas's equivalent number in 
Minsk, who had said that, initially, the case looked like an 
accident.  Noting that he had stayed in the hotel himself, 
Paslauskas admitted that it was hard to understand how such 
an accident could have occurred.  Officials have confirmed to 
us that Pociunas had been drinking the night of his death 
(Belarusian news had claimed that Pociunas had a blood 
alcohol level 4.75 times higher than the level at which one 
is considered legally drunk in Lithuania), although none has 
determined whether that contributed to his death.  Our 
sources also tell us that the Belarusians have been fairly 
helpful in the investigation.  That said, the GOL thinks that 
the GOB knows more about what went on than they are telling, 
although the Lithuanians do not expect the Belarusians to 
give them the full story anytime soon.  Presidential foreign 
policy chief Valteris Baliukonis told the Ambassador 
September 1 that "we may never know what really happened." 
 
¶3. (U) The Lithuanian press have covered the story 
intensively, publishing every theory, however unfounded.  One 
newspaper alleged that Pociunas could have been drugged by 
prostitutes, while television news reported that stab wounds 
had been found on Pociunas's body.  An article in the weekly 
"Veidas" alleges that Pociunas's death had to do with his 
investigation of impeached Lithuanian President Paksas's ties 
to an international network of smugglers.  There have been 
numerous calls to establish a special parliamentary 
commission to investigate the case.  The GOL has responded to 
the clamor with calm:  the Foreign Minister pointedly told 
the press that the GOL had no plans to withdraw its diplomats 
from Belarus, and, in a press statement, Prime Minister 
Kirkilas emphasized the cooperation of Belarusian law 
enforcement in the investigation. 
 
COMMENT 
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¶4. (S) Despite the sensational nature of the case, the GOL is 
trying to develop its information carefully before drawing 
any conclusions.  They believe it will take time to unravel 
what happened.  We agree that the GOB appears to be trying to 
help -- a Lithuanian prosecutor joined the investigation in 
Belarus the day after the death, and a Lithuanian forensics 
expert was granted permission to attend the Belarusian 
examination of Pociunas's body.  But when we have pressed our 
contacts on whether the GOB has shared its surveillance tapes 
(which we assume are de rigueur at an Inturist Hotel), their 
silence speaks volumes. 
CLOUD