Lithuanian president calls to review use of service weapon regulations after suspect killing

DELFI / Ainis Gurevičius

The proposals were supported by Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis who met with the president on Monday.

“The tragedy, which claimed the life of a young man who had just embarked on his path, calls for immediate measures to prevent such senseless deaths in the future (…). The president is convinced that we have to develop a legal base that would both prevent the use of redundant force against people and protect officers against unlawful actions,” presidential spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaitė said.

In her words, Grybauskaitė noted during the meeting with the minister that Lithuania “does not take into consideration the European standards and the practice of the European Court of Human Rights in connection to the use of firearms”.

“The officer’s or another individual’s health or life has to be in danger, or this has to be a detention of a person suspected of a violent crime,” said Ulbinaitė.

The need to step up border protection was also high on the agenda of the Monday’s meeting.

An 18-year-old resident of Alytus, southern Lithuania, was gunned down by a border guard on Thursday morning during the pursuit of two automobiles of suspected smugglers on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. After one of the cars was later pulled up in Leipalingis, the injured teenager was discovered on the back seat and later died in hospital.

Immediately after the incident, Grybauskaitė stated that the use of weapon was redundant, dismissing the incident as “low-quality performance of our border functions”.

Meanwhile, the interior minister, Skvernelis, urged politicians to refrain from public condemnation of the border guard until a thorough investigation has been completed. In a public letter circulated over the weekend, Skvernelis urged officers to stand strong against the underworld.

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