Detained suspect in Lithuanian murder case to be given over to Vilnius from Riga
As the BNS noted a suspect in Medininkai border checkpoint murder case, Konstantin Nikulin, will be extradited to Lithuania.
This decision was made by Latvia’s Supreme Court, which dismissed Nikulin’s request to not be extradited to Lithuania.
Nimkulin should be given over to Lithuanian law enforcement over a period of three weeks.
As the BNS informed and this blog remained the suspect was detained by Latvian law-enforcement officers on Nov. 28 of last year, based on the European warrant for his arrest issued by Lithuania.
Latvia’s Prosecutor General’s Office had agreed to extradite the detained 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, 40-year-old Konstantin Nikulin.
The BNS writes that the suspect in this 17 year-old case concerning the killing of seven Lithuanian officers and injuring of one, had appealed to Latvia’s Supreme Court regarding the decision to extradite him to Lithuania, therefore he remained in Latvia until the court reached its final verdict.
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.
After Latvia extradites Nikulin to Lithuania, the prosecution process can be started in Lithuania. According to Lithuania’s legislation, Nikulin will face life in prison for first-degree murder of more than two persons.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has been investigating one of the cruellest crimes committed in Lithuania — the massacre of the Medininkai checkpoint staff — for 17 years.
The BNS reminds that 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 Šernas 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 hit men of the former Soviet Union’s militia special operations unit OMON did the crime 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.
At the time of the investigation, the larger part of the rifles seized from the victims have been found.
The investigation of the manslaughter at Medininkai checkpoint is aggravated by the fact that the suspects and a lot of important witnesses reside in Russia.
The seven officers were 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 hit men 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.
The BNS reminds that on the morning of July 31st of 1991, killers, who as of yet haven’t been tried, murdered border guards Antanas Musteikis, Stanislovas Orlavičius, Aras SWAT unit officers Algimantas Juozakas and Mindaugas Balavakas, road police employees Juozas Janonis and Algirdas Kazlauskas with shots to the head.
Police officer who experienced heavy injuries during the attack, Ricardas Rabavičius, died in the hospital Aug. 2nd. The sole officer who survived the attack was Tomas Šernas, who also experienced heavy injuries at the time of the attack.