Kaunas reopens court case in murder of Lithuanian partisan leader

Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas

The defendant in the case, Stasys Šimkus, will not be present in court hearings – the case has already been sent back to prosecutors twice after failure to establish whether the defendant was still alive. Simkus, 90, is a citizen of Belarus, but Belarusian law-enforcement has not cooperated with Lithuania’s summonses.

After the case returned to court, the indictment was read and the victim in the case, Ramanauskas-Vanagas’ daughter Auksutė Ramanauskaitė-Skokauskienė, gave her testimony.

“My mother told me about how they were captured. (…) When they approached the post where Simkus was, there was a car parked, and a bunch of KGB officers simply jumped on them, they didn’t even have time to shoot themselves – although my mother says this was their option in order not to be captured alive,” Ramanauskaitė-Skokauskienė told the court.

The defendant’s son should be summoned to the next hearing, as Šimkus’ defense lawyer says it is not clear whether the defendant is alive.

Šimkus is charged with genocide. As an office of the Soviet Union‘s repressive structure, he was involved in the 1956 secret detention operation of Ramanauskas-Vanagas and his wife Birutė, which led to Vanagas’ imprisonment in a KGB facility in Vilnius.

After a year of brutal physical and psychological torture, Vanagas was sentenced to death on Sept. 24-25 of 1957. He was executed in Vilnius on Nov. 29 that year.

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