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Italians Detain Ex-Soviet Officer For Deadly Vilnius Crackdown

A former Soviet military officer wanted in Lithuania for taking part in the deadly dispersal of pro-independence demonstrators in 1991 has been detained in Italy.

Elena Martinoniene, spokeswoman for the the Lithuanian prosecutor-general, told reporters in Vilnius on May 16 that the suspect, whose name was not revealed, was detained in Milan on May 14.

Martinoniene said the suspect's extradition to Lithuanian is expected in the near future.

In March, another suspect in the same case, Russian citizen Yury Mel, was detained while entering Lithuania from Russia's European exclave of Kaliningrad.

Fourteen protesters were killed in clashes between protesters and Soviet troops in Vilnius on January 13, 1991, when thousands of Lithuanians gathered to defend the government's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.

Lithuania has international warrants for some 80 people suspected in taking part in the deadly crackdown.

Based on reporting by Delfi and Interfax

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