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Politically-Motivated (In)Justice? the Extradition Case of Judge Venckiene

  • 2261 Rayburn House Office Building (map)

Thursday, September 27, 2018
2:00 p.m.
Rayburn House Office Building
Room 2261

Live Webcast: http://www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission

Since 2008, Lithuanian judge and parliamentarian Neringa Venckiene has been seeking justice for her young niece, who was allegedly sexually molested by two Lithuanian government officials. Despite a court ruling that there was enough evidence to indict the child’s mother for facilitating the molestation, the niece was taken from Judge Venckiene and returned to the mother’s care, preventing the girl from testifying further in an ongoing trial against her alleged abusers.

In 2013, Judge Venckiene fled Lithuania to seek political asylum in the United States, fearing retribution not only for her efforts to protect her niece but also for her leadership in a new anti-corruption political party. Lithuanian prosecutors have since charged Judge Venckiene with at least 35 crimes, ranging from petitioning the court on her niece’s behalf, to speaking to journalists about the case, to bruising an officer during her struggle to keep her niece.

Five years after arriving in the United States, Judge Venckiene’s political asylum case has still not been heard, but U.S. authorities are moving to extradite her under the U.S.-Lithuania extradition treaty. The hearing will explore the limits of extradition among allies, especially when charges appear politically motivated. Witnesses will also discuss whether the bilateral extradition treaty would protect Judge Venckiene from additional charges and civil suits if she were extradited.

Witnesses scheduled to testify include:

  • Karolis Venkus, Son of Judge Neringa Venckiene

  • Dr. Vytautas Matulevicius, Member of Lithuanian Parliament, Way of Courage Party (2012-2016)

  • Abbe Jolles, Esq., International Human Rights Litigator, AJ Global Legal
     

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The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.