Suspect in preeminent murder case of Lithuanian officers detained in Latvia

January 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm 1 comment

Medininkai, Nikulin.  Source; Lrytas.ltAs the BNS reported the Latvian Prosecutor General’s Office agreed to extradite Konstantin Nikulin, 40, former OMON Special Purpose Police Squad hit man and one of the suspects in a case of manslaughter in Medininkai border checkpoint of eastern Lithuania.

The suspect in this 17 year-old case concerning the killing of seven Lithuanian officers and injuring of one, has appealed to Latvia’s Supreme Court regarding the decision to extradite him to Lithuania, therefore he is to remain in Latvia until the court reaches its final verdict.

As the BNS announced the Chief-Prosecutor of Lithuania’s Prosecutor General’s Office Department of Organized Crime and Corruption, Algimantas Kliunka, announced this information in a press conference Thursday. Officers working in his department are investigating this resonant case.Latvian law-enforcement officers detained the suspect on Nov. 28 of last year, based on the European warrant for his arrest issued by Lithuania.

“Nikulin was member of the Special Purpose Police Squad’s group Delta-1. We suspect that members of this group are responsible for the murder of seven officers and attempted murder of one more”, Prosecutor Kliunka.

Nikulin was one of the top 16 most wanted individuals by Lithuanian police.

Nikulin, together with three other suspects, also ex-members of OMON – Aleksandr Ryzhov, Andrej Laktionov and Ceslav Mlynik – was wanted as suspect in a murder case.

The latter three suspects are Russian citizens, who reside there and are as of yet not accessible to Lithuania’s law enforcers.

He also noted that the prosecutor’s office is collaborating with secret informants and “leakage of some details could be potentially dangerous”.

Should Latvia extradite Nikulin to Lithuania, the prosecution process can be started in Lithuania. According to Lithuania’s legislation, Nikulin would face life in prison for first-degree murder of more than two persons.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has been investigating one of the cruelest crimes committed in Lithuania — the massacre of the Medininkai checkpoint staff — for 17 years.As the BNS further informs the suspects are expected to face the trial someday and will not evade the prosecution due to limitation, as the limitation period becomes suspended when suspects are hiding from pre-trial investigation.

The pre-trial investigation has established that the first 7 police and customs officers of the independent Lithuania were killed and the sole survivor Tomas Sernas was grievously wounded as a result of doing their duty. Stationed on duty on July 31, 1991, the men died of headshots from Kalashnikov assault rifles.

The data collected in the process of the pre-trial investigation allow the prosecutors to suspect that the crime was done by hit men of the former Soviet Union’s militia special operations unit OMON from Riga, who were visiting the OMON base in Vilnius on July 30, 1991. Another group of militia from Riga’s OMON set off an explosive device at the headquarters of the 42nd division of the Soviet Union on L.Sapiegos Street in Vilnius on the very same night.

The BNS remeinded that the investigation of the manslaughter at the Medininkai checkpoint is aggravated by the fact that the suspects and a lot of important witnesses reside in Russia.

The seven officers are believed to have been killed in Medininkai to cause confusion at the customs of the country that had just declared its independence. At that time, OMON hitmen would quite often assault checkpoints and beat up officers stationed there.

Lithuanians were forced to act peacefully by the political circumstances of the time, and the culprits did not receive an adequate response.

There is available information that Medininkai check-point was chosen for the uncanny crime with personal revenge motives.

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Russia, Terrorism, Totalitarian regimes.

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