On July 6, 2023, Vilnius District Court extended the detention period of Lithuanian citizen Mantas Danielius, accused of espionage in favor of Belarus, for another two months. In addition, an investigation is currently underway regarding the suspicion of falsifying documents and their use for criminal purposes.
“The possible crimes were committed in 2014-2015. Last Thursday, the court questioned five witnesses in this case.
The business family told the court that they had decided to sell the business and move to Spain. They found an online advertisement stating that M. Danielius was purchasing companies, and they sold their company to Danielis, who was acting by proxy, for one euro. Subsequently, it was discovered through examination that the power of attorney was forged.”
Danielius is also suspected of “performing tasks assigned by another state or its organization, involving the abduction, purchase, collection, or transmission of information constituting a state secret of the Republic of Lithuania or other information of interest to foreign intelligence”.The punishment under this article is imprisonment for a term of 6 to 15 years.
Mantas Danielius was detained at the end of September for a period of two months, which was the maximum term of a restraint measure. The basis for the detention was a statement filed to the police on June 9, 2022, by Olga Karach,in which she expressed suspicions of espionage and cooperation between Mantas Danielis and the Belarusian KGB. Subsequently, other Belarusian organizations also submitted similar statements to the Lithuanian special services.
It should be recalled that in early 2022, a lawyer named Mantas Danielius emerged in the Belarusian diaspora in Lithuania. Under the guise of providing voluntary legal assistance, Danielis attempted to infiltrate the activities of various organizations providing assistance to Belarusians who had fled the Lukashenko regime and sought refuge in Lithuania.
His main goal, as later became clear, was to gain access to the personal data of employees, volunteers, and those who obtained help. Of particular interest to the Belarusian special services were the escape schemes of Belarusian citizens under repression, specifically those involving crossing the Lithuanian border. The intention was to prevent such escape attempts.
The greatest interest is drawn to the biggest structures, such as Our House and Dapamoga. Our House has been publishing materials about the activities of Mantas Danielius, who was trying to gain the trust of the Belarusian diaspora in Vilnius.
The pre-trial investigation against Mantas Danielius, initiated in collaboration with the State Security Department of Lithuania, is being conducted by the officers of the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau and led by the Vilnius District Prosecutor’s Office.
Human rights defender and Director of the Lithuanian branch of Freedom House, Vitis Jurkonis, launched a campaign of harassment and victim-blaming against Belarusian human rights activists in exile following the arrest of lawyer Mantas Danielius. He publicly stated on the Lithuanian portal Delfi that Olga Karach and Natalya Kolegova, Belarusian human rights defenders, were to blame for the fact that the Belarusian KGB was hunting them in Lithuania, and they should apologize to Lithuania for it.