According to the Lithuanian public media LRT, more than 200 Lithuanians have been recognized as freedom defenders, 18 months after the status was recognized by law.
In January 1991, Gediminas Janks was one of those who guarded the Lithuanian parliament building against Soviet forces. He was the leader of a group of riflemen and, more than 30 years later, was officially recognized as a champion of freedom. For him, it signifies the moral recognition of those who have taken vows and remained faithful to the end.
A year and a half ago, Lithuania’s parliament adopted a law determining who will be recognized as defenders of liberty. This category includes those who served in state institutions and pledged allegiance to Lithuania when it regained its independence. Arvydas Pocius, a member of his Seimas, creator of the law, explained that this is a dangerous time and it is dangerous to work in state institutions.
But the legal definition calls into question those whose loved ones suffered on January 13, 1991.
The hundreds of people injured or killed that night did not meet the definition of a defender of liberty. January 13 is officially celebrated as Defenders of Liberty Day in Lithuania, thus confusing the public.
The author of the law, Posius, did not see the contradiction, pointing out that those injured or killed on January 13 were awarded the honorary title of Defender of Independence. The difference, according to the lieutenant, was that the defenders of liberty had no chance to leave because they were bound by the oaths they had taken.
A total of 208 people have already been awarded the honorary title of Defenders of Liberty, but three applications have been rejected.
Seimas member Eugenijus Jovaiša, who also participated in the 1991 event, plans to submit an amendment to the law, but Počus sees no reason to do so.
Read the full article here: https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1863310/defenders-of-freedom-or-independence-new-honours-confuse-relatives-of-lithuania -s – January 13th – Victim