Muntianas urges against politicizing Pociunas' investigation

By TBT staff

Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Muntianas has urged the media and officials not to politicize the investigation into Lithuanian security officer Vytautas Pociunas, who died mysteriously in Belarus on Aug. 23.

"I think there is no need to politicize the process, because this stirs up a lot of emotions and it is hard to ascertain the truth. I think we should trust the law enforcement institutions in charge of this process. We should wait for the investigation conclusions and then we can express our opinions," Muntianas said in an interview with Ziniu Radijas radio.

However, he added that Parliament, as the controlling institution behind the investigating, should not sit aside.

"There is parliamentary control. Competent committees should monitor the processes taking place in one or another institution. I would exclude the pre-trial investigation conducted by the Prosecutor General's Office, but interior issues of the State Security Department should be investigated amid parliamentary control," the parliamentary speaker said.

Upon receiving information about the investigation into Pociunas' death and the circumstances of his appointment to work in Belarus, the parliamentary national security and defense committee this week decided to launch an investigation.

In the words of Alvydas Sadeckas, chairman of the committee, investigators will not only look into issues related to the officer's death, but will also inquire about the State Security Department's activities, principles of work, and reorganization,

Following the Lithuanian security officer's death in Brest, politicians proposed that Parliament look into the circumstances of his appointment to the diplomatic service in Belarus. They said it was suspicious that such a high-ranking and experienced State Security Department officer had been appointed to work "in the backwoods."

Before being appointed to work in Belarus, Pociunas, who held the rank of senior state adviser, headed the State Security Department's office in charge of national economic and energy security.

Pociunas, who worked at Lithuania's consulate in Grodno, died on Aug. 23. His body was located outside his hotel in Brest, where he was staying on business. Belarusian officers assert that it was an accident.