Lithuanian police arrest 39 in child custody case
Thursday 17 May 2012
Riot police helped a mother regain custody of her 8-year-old daughter today in a tragic case that has riveted Lithuania for three years and led to three deaths.
Thirty-nine protesters were detained as they tried to prevent the police from carrying out a 5-month-old court order saying the mother should regain custody of her daughter from a house where relatives were keeping her.
Many Lithuanians in the southern town of Garliava violently opposed the order because they allege the girl's mother, Laimute Stankunaite, is part of a pedophile ring.
Protesters had long prevented authorities from taking the girl, Deimante Kedyte, from her deceased father's relatives by forming a cordon around the house. But early this morning Stankunaite and her lawyer — both wearing bulletproof vests and surrounded by dozens of police carrying shields — whisked the girl out of the house to a waiting van.
The demonstrators screamed and shouted obscenities, and many were later shown crying. Soon video and photos of the police operation went viral, and hundreds of Lithuanians met in downtown Vilnius, the capital, to hold a vigil outside President Dalia Grybauskaite's residence and to urge him to reverse the court decision.
It was a dramatic development in a tragic case that has riveted Lithuanian society for the past three years.
In 2009, the girl's father, Drasius Kedys, claimed his daughter was being abused by a pedophile ring involving Stankunaite.
After Kedys failed to get a court order protecting his daughter, he allegedly killed a judge and the mother's sister, both of whom he accused of being part of the pedophile ring.
Kedys then disappeared, only to be found dead near a reservoir in mysterious circumstances two years ago. His funeral was attended by thousands of Lithuanians who had come to regard him as a martyr who dared fight a corrupt justice system.
Today, the girl and her mother were moved to an undisclosed location under constant police protection.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...