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Lithuania wants Gorbachev to testify in war crimes trial

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 1991 file photo, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev says in Moscow that a local military commander ordered the use of force in the breakaway republic of Lithuania, where an assault by Soviet troops on Jan. 13, 1991 claimed 14 lives. On Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, a Lithuanian court has called on Gorbachev to testify in a mass trial related to the 1991 crackdown on the country’s independence movement. (AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko, File)
October 17, 2016 - 6:44 AM

VILNIUS, Lithuania - A Lithuanian court has called former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to testify in a mass trial related to the 1991 crackdown on the country's independence movement.

Gorbachev and Russian authorities haven't answered previous requests so it's unlikely he would comply with Monday's request from the Vilnius district court.

The case involves more than 60 former Soviet officials charged with war crimes and other offences for their roles in a crackdown on pro-independence demonstrators that left 14 people dead in January 1991, when Gorbachev was still in power.

The judges approved a request by one of the plaintiffs in the case to call Gorbachev to the court as a witness.

Only two defendants are present in court. Others, mainly citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, are being tried in absentia.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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