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Witch Hunt:Lithuanian Authorities Arrest 9 Possible 'Pro-Kremlin Activists'

© Flickr / Mantas VolungeviciusLithuanian security services carried out an operation across five cities Thursday leading to the detention of persons charged with anti-state activities, Baltic news portal Delfi reports. Photo: Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuanian security services carried out an operation across five cities Thursday leading to the detention of persons charged with anti-state activities, Baltic news portal Delfi reports. Photo: Vilnius, Lithuania - Sputnik International
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Lithuanian security services carried out an operation across five cities Thursday, leading to the detention of persons charged with anti-state activities, Baltic news portal Delfi reports.

Train in  Sventniki, Vilnius County, Lithuania - Sputnik International
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The operation is a continuation of an investigation organized in January by the Klaipeda County Chief Prosecutor's Office. Nine people from the cities of Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Sialuliai and Trakai are reported to have been detained, their homes and work places searched.

"Searches have been ongoing since early morning, and they are still ongoing," Klaipeda County Chief Prosecutor Simonas Minkevicius stated Thursday, as cited by Delfi.lt. "We are being assisted by prosecutors from Kaunas and Vilnius counties. During our searches, we are looking for a variety of materials related to the investigation. This includes declarations…computer equipment and correspondence. We mustn't be naïve, because the nine persons whose names are listed in the investigation could be influenced by our eastern neighbors," the prosecutor added.

"[The suspects] are trying to create a view that life in Lithuania is bad, and that what is going on in Crimea is great," Minkevicius continued. "Therefore an investigation has been launched in connection to the creation of anti-constitutional groups or organizations or unconstitutional activities. This is a serious crime," the prosecutor concluded.

Lithuanian soldiers stand during a military exercise 'Iron Sword 2014' at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade some 60km.(38 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania - Sputnik International
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Delfi.lt explains that in addition to homes and workplaces, investigators have also searched a publishing house which had recently published statements to the effect that Lithuania was a US colony, statements welcoming Russia's decision to accept reunification with Crimea, and other politically motivated declarations.
Authorities stated that they are searching for the "hand which feeds or directs" the persons caught in the lens of the investigation.

According to Lithuania's criminal code, involvement in "organizations or armed groups aiming to change the constitutional order of the State of Lithuania by illegal means, to threaten its independence or territorial integrity," is punishable with imprisonment of between three and ten years.

Sputnik had reported on Thursday that two rail terminals in Vilnius had been surrounded by police and military after a train full of young people from Russia suspected of planning an armed invasion entered the country. The train turned out to be filled with Russian students heading to a maritime college in Kaliningrad through Lithuania.

On Friday, Lithuania's parliament reportedly approved the president's initiative to reintroduce conscription, citing "the danger of attack by Russia." The Sejm also approved a contingency plan for it to continue its operations under a situation of martial law.

Freedom of speech, thought and consciousness are formally guaranteed in Lithuania under Articles 25 and 26 of the country's constitution.

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