Statement on the trial of Lithuanian Judge Neringa Venckiene
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and senior member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, made the following statement regarding the trial of former judge and parliamentarian Neringa Venckiene, which commenced today in Lithuania.
“I appeal to the Lithuanian government to end the prosecution and persecution of Judge Neringa Venckiene, who exposed a human trafficking ring and corruption in her country. Judge Venckiene is being tried on trumped up charges, accused of resisting arrest when in reality she was brutalized while trying to protect her niece.
“These proceedings are highly irregular, taking place, I am told, after the statute of limitations has expired—and while Lithuania and the world are focused on the COVID-19 crisis. Regrettably Judge Venckiene was extradited to Lithuania before her scheduled asylum hearing in the United States.
“In 1991, in the waning days of the Soviet Union, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Vytautas Landsbergis and the Lithuanian people at the parliament in Vilnius because justice demanded it. I call on the Lithuanian government to cease the prosecution of Judge Venckiene and urge the Panevezys Regional Court to set her free.”
Click here to read text of H.R. 1107, a private bill regarding Judge Venckiene introduced by Rep. Smith to allow her asylum case to be heard and recites the underlying facts regarding the trafficking of her niece.
To read testimony or watch a congressional hearing of the Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe entitled "The Politically Motivated [In]Justice," click on the link.