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.
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
India-US row over escalates over arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York
Peter O'Toole: Tales of the late film icon
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 Facebook 'self-censorship': study records when you don't post to find more ways to share
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Vitamin pills are a waste of money, offer no health benefits and could be harmful - study
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£450 - £500 Per Day Flexible: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: EC1N 400-500/da...
£44000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Top Independent Practice -...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Geography ...
£40000 - £60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Business Developme...