The Vilnius Regional Court on Monday began hearing the case of Mantas Danielius, a Vilnius resident accused of spying for Belarus and witness tampering.
As the case is not public, the court will hold closed-door hearings.
The indictment was read out during the first session, and the victims were present at the hearing, BNS heard.
Danielius is being held in custody and was accompanied to the hearing by officers of the Public Security Service.
His criminal case reached court in September.
The pre-trial investigation on espionage was opened in late September 2022, following the receipt of substantiated evidence that Danielius had allegedly collected information of interest to Belarusian intelligence since early 2022 and subsequently handed over that information.
According to the investigation, Danielius worked for a Belarusian national linked with the Belarusian intelligence organization since January 2022, collected information and provided it to the Belarusian national.
“Under the guise of a volunteer, the accused approached organizations operating in Lithuania and uniting the democratic opposition to the regime of the Republic of Belarus, and was also in contact with persons who moved to Lithuania after the presidential election in the Republic of Belarus in August 2020 to avoid arrest, imprisonment or any other legal persecution,” the persecution service said.
Danielius would visit the premises of Belarusian opposition organizations, attend events and allegedly collect and hand over information about their activities, ongoing projects, sources of funding, organization members and their meetings.
According to the investigation, the Belarusian national who worked for Belarusian intelligence and recruited Danielius instructed him on the methods and technical means to be used for collecting information of interest to a foreign intelligence organization, as well as on the methods of transmitting the collected information and on the security requirements for mutual communication. According to information available to BNS, the Belarusian national in question is journalist Ksenia Lebedeva.
The Lithuanian citizen is accused of not only having collected and possibly handed over information to Belarusian intelligence about Belarusian opposition organizations operating in Lithuania but he’s also accused of having collected and handed over information about the Belarusian Kastus Kalinouski Regiment of Belarusians fighting in Ukraine.
Belarusian intelligence was interested in Belarusian opposition organizations operating in Lithuania, and in Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader who is politically active in Lithuania.
Eventually, representatives of Belarusian organizations in Lithuania informed Lithuanian law enforcement institutions about Danielius’ the suspicious activities.
Danielius is accused of having stolen, purchased or otherwise collected and handed over information constituting a state secret in Lithuania or other information of interest to the intelligence services of a foreign state, working for another state.
He is facing a prison term ranging from six to 15 years.
Danielius was arrested in late September 2022 soon after a pre-trial investigation was opened.
He’s also charged with influencing witnesses and is facing community service or a fine, restriction of liberty, arrest or a prison term of up to two years for that.
Danielius has several previous convictions for document forgery, fraud, fraudulent bookkeeping and other offenses.
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