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Lithuanian President May Fight Impeachment In European Court

Vilnius, 2 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A lawyer representing Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas today criticized a ruling that Paksas violated the constitution.

The Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that Paksas violated the constitution by granting citizenship to a Russian businessman who was the main financial backer in the president's election campaign. The businessman has been accused of illegally selling arms to Sudan.

Paksas's attorney, Kestutis Stungys, said the court ruling earlier this week was "subjective" and politically motivated.

The court's ruling gives legal ammunition to Lithuania's parliament, where there is a move under way to impeach Paksas after a parliamentary inquiry accused his office of links to organized crime.

Stungys said the parliamentary inquiry was baised. And he said that "if necessary," Paksas may turn to the European Court of Human Rights and other institutions to defend his rights.