Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

PERSPECTIVE

Julien Brave NoiseCat: ‘Pipelines a real threat to First Nations’ way of life’

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Austrian government spokesman: ‘Still possible to agree on Brexit deal before end of October’

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Playing fair and paying fair: Copyright law gets an internet-age overhaul

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US, China impose new tariffs on each other's goods

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Tanzania’s president orders arrests over Lake Victoria ferry disaster

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Controversial rapper cancels Bataclan concerts

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Brett Kavanaugh hearings: Trump challenges Supreme Court nominee's accuser

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Yes they cancan: Backstage at the Moulin Rouge

Read more

#THE 51%

One is not enough: China to encourage people to have more children

Read more

US judge OKs extradition of Lithuanian anti-corruption politician

© AFP/File | Neringa Venckiene left Lithuania in 2013 and has been living in the Chicago area while seeking asylum in the US

CHICAGO (AFP) - 

A US judge declined Thursday to prevent the extradition of a former Lithuanian judge and political party founder, who accuses her home country's government of corruption in the alleged cover-up of a pedophilia case.

Neringa Venckiene left the Baltic state in 2013 and has been living in the Chicago area while seeking asylum in the US.

She is at the center of a sensational case that inspired political opposition in Lithuania and led her to create the anti-corruption "Way of Courage" party.

Venckiene, a former judge, claims her brother was killed while trying to expose officials who covered up a pedophile ring abusing his then four-year-old daughter with the connivance of his estranged wife.

A court order returning the child to her mother sparked public anger in 2012, with hundreds of people forming a human wall at Venckiene's home, delaying officials' attempts to remove the girl.

Lithuania is seeking Venckiene's extradition on charges she hindered authorities' efforts to return the child to her mother. The US State Department approved the extradition.

Venckiene filed a motion in US federal court in Chicago asking for a stay while her political asylum case proceeds.

Judge Virginia Kendall declined to issue one, saying that while case raised "serious issues concerning the United States' extradition process and propriety of her native country's political and judicial systems," Venckiene had not satisfied her burden of proof for a stay.

"This Court must respect the right of sovereign nations to enact and enforce their own criminal laws," the judge said.

Venckiene's attorneys indicated they would appeal the decision, according to the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

The case became a cause celebre in Lithuania and empowered the Way of Courage party, which gained a handful of seats in the European Union nation's parliament in 2012.

Venckiene has also won the support of two US lawmakers, who have introduced bills in Congress to prevent her extradition while her asylum case is being processed.

Allison Parker, general counsel with the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe -- a US agency promoting human rights -- told AFP that attempts to help Venckiene will continue.

"As long as she's in the country, there's still hope," Parker said.

In a commission report critical of Lithuania's actions, US Congressman Christopher Smith noted that 10 of the 14 charges Lithuania presented for Venckiene's extradition were rejected by the US.

The charges "have a chilling effect on those who would take the risk of seeking justice against those who sexually exploit children," he said.

© 2018 AFP