Lithuania vexed by no-show of Latvian atrocity witnesses

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Latvia has accepted a Lithuanian request for legal assistance in interviewing two former members of the notorious Soviet-era OMON forces but then failed to deliver when the pair didn't show up in court, the BNS newswire reports.

On Friday January 9, the Lithuanian Court of Appeals said the court had asked Latvian authorities to interview two former OMON soldiers, namely, Normunds Strapcans and Germans Buniatovs (formerly Glazov) who were required to give testimony in connection with the notorious 'Medininkai massacre' of July 31, 1991 in which 7 Lithuanian poice and customs officers were gunned down by OMON paramilitaries. 

Though not direct suspects, Lithuania wanted the two witnesses to answer questions about their service in the Riga branch of the Soviet OMON force.

Latvia said it was ready to execute the request for legal assistance: Strapcans and Buniatovs were summoned to a Riga court on October 28 but failed to appear due to unspecified reasons.

Lithuanian Prosecutor Saulius Verseckas has said that the two former OMON soldiers had testified about the OMON structure in other trials.

The Lithuanian Court of Appeal is hearing a plea filed by prosecutors who want Latvian citizen and former Soviet OMON officer Konstantin Mikhailov who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the spring of 2011 sentenced for crimes against humanity.

Mikhailov, the only person who has so far been sentenced for the Medininkai massacre, also filed an appeal against the sentence and wants to be cleared of the charges.

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