Soviet Marshal Yazov sentenced by Lithuania dies in Russia

The last marshal of the Soviet Union Dmitry Yazov, who was sentenced by Lithuania for his role in the 1991 crackdown in Vilnius, died in Moscow on Tuesday aged 95.

Yazov was the highest ranking military official and played a key role in the 1991 coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev and the repressions in Vilnius that led to the death of 14 civilians on January 13, 1991.  Read more:  Occupied but not silenced. January 13, 1991: the night when Soviets stormed LRT     In March last year, Lithuania  found   Yazov and 66 other Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian citizens guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yazov was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison.

The lawyers provided by Lithuania to Yazov will ask his relatives whether they would like to launch an appeal hearing.

Under Lithuanian laws, litigation may continue if the deceased had lodged an appeal.

Lawyer Valentinas Giriunas said the Court of Appeal is scheduled to start hearing the case on March 26.

“There was no contact with the relatives” despite the defence trying to contact them, according to Lawyer Valentinas Giriunas, adding that the relatives still have one month to submit documents to launch an appeal.

If no answer is received, the case will be closed, the lawyer said.

Yazov was the defence minister of the Soviet Union 1987 and 1991, and took part in the August 1991 coup attempt against Gorbachev.

The coup failed and its leaders were arrested. Yazov was released from prison in 1993 and granted amnesty in 1994.  Read more:  EP resolution calls on Russia to quit prosecuting Lithuanian judges


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