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Fourteen people lost their lives when Soviet forces cracked down on Lithuania's pro-independence movement in 1991 (file photo).

A court in Lithuania plans to summon former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to a trial over the Soviet crackdown on the Baltic state's pro-independence movement in 1991.

The Vilnius Regional Court said on October 17 that it will summon Gorbachev to testify at the trial as a witness.

In January, the court started the trial of two former Soviet military officers, Russian citizens Gennady Ivanov and Yury Mel.

Lithuania charged 66 citizens of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine last year with war crimes and crimes against humanity over the death of 13 people during the 1991 crackdown.

More than 1,000 people were also wounded when Soviet troops stormed Vilnius's TV tower on January 13, 1991.

Fourteen people lost their lives that day after another person died of a heart attack.

It was the deadliest action by the Soviet Army in trying to crush secessionist movements in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

Based on reporting by Delfi and Interfax
Chechen reporter Zhalaudi Geriyev (file photo)

The Moscow-based human rights center Memorial has recognized a Chechen journalist Zhalaudi Geriyev as a political prisoner.

In an October 17 statement, Memorial said Geriyev's imprisonment was linked to his professional activities.

On September 5, a court in Chechnya found Geriyev guilty of marijuana possession and sentenced him to three years in jail.

Geriyev had denied the charges, while New York-based Human Rights Watch said he was being "punished" for his work as a journalist.

Geriyev, a contributor to the website Caucasian Knot, has been known for his reporting on human rights in Chechnya, which is tightly controlled by Kremlin-backed Ramzan Kadyrov.

Rights activists have blamed Kadyrov and his paramilitary forces for serious rights abuses, including the widespread use of kidnapping, torture, and extrajudicial murders.

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