LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 27, No. 1 - Spring 1981
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1981 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
RECENT VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN SOVIET-OCCUPIED LITHUANIA
The following documentation on human rights violations in Soviet-occupied Lithuania during the second half of 1980 was prepared by Rev. Casimir Pugevicius, Executive Director of the Lithuanian Information Center, Brooklyn, New York. The research division of the Center is financed in part by a grant from the Lithuanian World Community.
July 22, 1980: Prosecutor's Office, Vilnius
Danute Kersiute files a complaint for illegal KGB actions during her interrogation. On June 24,1980, the KGB attempted to take her fingerprints, though she had been summoned for questioning only. When she refused to cooperate, she was beaten. The next day, the People's Court of Spalis rayon sentenced her to 15 days for "hooliganism."
July — October 1980: Vilnius
All letters and packages to former prisoner of conscience Nijole Sadunaite have been withheld since her return from exile on July 10, 1980.
July 24, 1980: KGB headquarters, Prienai
Raimondas Buzas is interrogated about the activities of his father, Povilas Buzas, who was arrested January 30,1980 in Birstonas for operating an illegal printing press. Raimondas is urged to convince his father of his wrongdoing.
July 24, 1980: KGB headquarters, Prienai
Ona Buziene, wife of imprisoned Povilas Buzas, is threatened with eviction from her home for stating that she was unaware of her husband's samizdat activity.
July 1980; Mordovskaya ASSR — Lesnoy
Letter to prisoner of conscience Petras Paulaitis from Norway is confiscated. He signs the return receipt for the registered letter, but is never allowed to see it.
July 29-31, 1980: KGB headquarters, Vilnius
Giedre Striokaite is interrogated about her association with Ona Vitkauskaite, who was arrested on April 18, 1980 in Bagotoji for involvement with the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, a samizdat publication which has been documenting the violation of human rights in Soviet Lithuania since 1972. The interrogator blatantly falsifies Striokaite's testimony in his examination report and threatens to have her imprisoned for 12 years on the grounds of refusing to cooperate and for disseminating the Chronicle.
August 8 and 11, 1980: Superior Court, Vilnius
Lithuanian Helsinki Group member, Dr. Algirdas Statkevicius, is sentenced to psychiatric treatment for signing the Baltic 45 memorandum demanding the abrogation of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Presently he is interned in Chernyakhovsk special psychiatric hospital.
August 12, 1980: Donelaicio 36, Kaunas
A group of KGB agents search the apartment of Dr. Julija Kuodyte. Through the search order is issued only for Kuodyte's apartment, an illegal search is conducted of the entire building.
Photographs, typewriter ribbons and religious books are confiscated from Aldona Nominaityte.
A magnetic tape, a typewritten appeal to Lithuania's youth and guidelines on how to conduct oneself under interrogation are confiscated from the apartment of Aldona Raizyte.
August 20, 1980: KGB headquarters, Kaunas
Brone Vitkauskaite, sister of imprisoned Ona Vitkauskaite, is interrogated about her sister's acitivites and acquaintances, and is threatened with imprisonment for refusing to cooperate. Following the interrogation, under pressure from the KGB, Vitkauskaite is requested to sign a letter of resignation.
August 24, 1980: Tytuvenai
Alfonsas Prakaitis is beaten for taking part in a religious procession to Siluva. While driving along the procession with his seven year old daughter and a photographer, the militia stops his car and demands that he turn over his license and keys. He refuses and is then forcibly removed from the car with his daughter, beaten, and then questioned. Prakaitis is later fined for his "offense."
August 29, 1980: Prosecutor's Office, Vilnius
Rev. Sigitas Tamkevicius, pastor of Kybartai, is summoned for questioning about Gemma-Jadvyga Stanelyte's job contract with the Kybartai parish council. Stanelyte was arrested on July 11, 1980 after visiting former prisoner of conscience Nijole Sadunaite in Vilnius upon her return from exile and charged with "parasitism." Tamkevicius verifies the existence of such an agreement.
September 1, 1980: KGB headquarters, Vilnius
Terese Petrikiene is interrogated about her previous testimony on Genovaite Navickaite, who was arrested on April 17, 1980 in Kybartai for duplicating the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. Interrogator Gavenas threatens to put her on trial for allegedly supplying false information.
September 15-19, 1980: Superior Court, Vilnius
Economist Antanas Terleckas and twenty-one year old Julius Sasnauskas are sentenced, respectively, to 3 years strict regime labor camp and 5 years internal exile, and 1 1/2 years strict regime labor camp and 5 years internal exile, under Lithuanian Criminal Code Art. 68-1. They are charged with anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda for duplicating, disseminating and possessing anti-Soviet literature, especially the Baltic 45 memorandum demanding self-determination for the Baltic states.
More than 100 supporters gather at the courthouse with flowers for the defendants, but are turned away.
September 1980: P. Mazylis Medical School, Kaunas
Stasele Sipaviciute, an outstanding student, and Liuda Liutvinaite, in dire need of financial aid, are denied assistance to an institution of higher learning based solely on the ground that they are not members of the Communist Youth League.
October 3, 1980: University of Vilnius
Andrius Tuckus, a freshman in psychology at the University of Vilnius, is expelled from the university on the basis of his religious and national beliefs, which are designated as being incompatible with Soviet ideals, and for his unacceptable behavior during the Sasnauskas and Terleckas trial (Tuckus greeted the defendants). Despite Tuckus' argument that the Soviet Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience, he is told to look for freedom elsewhere. The student confronts the KGB for an explanation and is informed that he will be allowed to continue his studies next year if he stops all anti-Soviet activity and breaks off friendships with nationalists.
October 9, 1980: Prosecutor's Office, Vilnius
Irena Stumbryte is threatened with confinement in a psychiatric hospital to cure her of her forgetfullness: for not recalling where she had obtained the religious literature confiscated from her apartment.
October 10, 1980: Luoke
Rev. Leonas Sapoka, pastor of Luoke parish, beaten and murdered. It is rumored that Sapoka was killed by the KGB. Substance is added to these rumors when a militia spokesman insists that Sapoka's cause of death was a heart attack.
October 75, 1980: Kulautuva
Wife of prisoner of conscience Petras Plumpa, Aldona, receives notification of her husband's transfer from Perm to Chistopol prison. Though the message reads that "he is entitled to one letter per month, two packages per year and two annual visits", Mrs. Plumpa is denied permission to visit her husband.
October 30, 1980: Mordovskaya ASSR — Lesnoy
Thirty-third anniversary of Petras Paulaitis' imprisonment in Soviet prisons and labor camps for fostering religious and nationalist ideas among students.
October 1980: Slavantai
Rev. Juozas Zdebskis, pastor of Slavantai, is injured in an accident under mysterious circumstances. Shortly after his admission to the hospital for treatment of second and third degree burns over 10-12% of his body, three KGB agents arrive with instructions to have him transferred to the VD wards. Zdebskis is taken home by friends for protection.
November 24-25, 1980: Superior Court, Vilnius
Genovaite Navickaite and Ona Vitkauskaite are sentenced, respectively, to 2 years labor camp and 1 1/2 years labor camp for duplicating and disseminating the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. Both are charged under Lithuanian Criminal Code 199-1 for "circulating knowingly false fabrication defaming the Soviet political and social system." They are presently detained in Panevezys prison for women. The prison administration has ordered that all references to God in their correspondence be censured.
November 24-26, 1980: Superior Court, Kaisiadoriai
Anastazas Janulis and Povilas Buzas are sentenced, respectively, to 3 1/2 years strict regime labor camp, and 1 1/2 years strict regime labor camp for duplication and dissemination of samizdat such as the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, The Dawn, The Suffering Christ and The Lithuanian Archives.
Families of the defendants are not notified of the trial date. Those who try to attend the trial, are turned away.
December 15-22, 1980: Superior Court, Vilnius
Geology professor Vytautas Skuodis, journalist Gintautas lesmantas and pedagogue Povilas Peceliunas are sentenced, respectively, to 7 years strict regime labor camp and 5 years internal exile, 6 years strict regime labor camp and 5 years internal exile, and, 3 years strict regime labor camp and 5 years internal exile. They are charged under Lithuanian Criminal Code 68-1 for "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" as pertaining to their involvement with the samizdat Perspectives and Alma Mater. They are also accused for systematically listening to foreign radio broadcasts.
December 15-19, 1980: Superior Court, Vilnius
Danute Kersiute, fiancee of Povilas Peceliunas, is arrested for presenting the defendants Skuodis, lesmantas and Peceliunas with a flower. She is charged with amoral behavior and confined in prison for 7 days.
December 16, 1980: Kelme
Gemma-Jadvyga Stanelyte is sentenced to three years labor camp under Lithuanian Criminal Code Art. 240 for "parasitism" and Art. 199 for slandering the Soviet state and social order. She is charged with organizing an illegal religious procession from Tytuvenai to Siluva on August 26,1979. For years, the Soviet regime has tried unsuccessfully to discourage annual participation of thousands of pilgrims at Siluva, a popular shrine in Lithuania since 1608.
December 18, 1980: Superior Court, Vilnius
Petras Cidzikas is detained on the courtroom steps upon arrival to the Skuodis, lesmantas and Peceliunas trial and then pulled away by KGB agents. His whereabouts as of December 25, 1980 were still unknown.