Comment by Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, on the situation around Konstantin Nikulin
According to information from Vilnius, the Lithuanian Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal filed by Russian citizen Konstantin Nikulin, a former member of the Riga OMON special police force, against the May 11, 2011 ruling by the Vilnius District Court, which declared him guilty of shooting the staff of the Medininkai border checkpoint on July 31, 1991 and handed down a life sentence to him. Moreover, the charges brought against Nikulin have been reclassified as a “crime against humanity,” which carries a harsher penalty.
We view these decisions by Lithuanian authorities as a continuation of the destructive policy of punishing Konstantin Nikulin, who has been portrayed as nearly the worst enemy of the Republic of Lithuania and its statehood, by any means possible. In light of the obvious political bias in this case, which has been going on since 2007, the inappropriate interpretation of international law by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Lithuania and manipulations at the trial designed to suit the Lithuanian authorities’ political ambitions, we interpret these developments as a serious blow to the system of justice in Lithuania as a member of the European Union and a state party to the European Convention on Human Rights.
The situation around this case is being aggravated by the serious health problems that Nikulin has faced in prison and the need for a competent diagnosis and, if necessary, medical treatment.
We will continue to provide active political, diplomatic, consular and legal assistance to Russian citizen Konstantin Nikulin, including at the concerned international human rights agencies of the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, as well as through respected NGOs. We will keep working to ensure respect for Nikulin’s rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.