THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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Darius Kuolys, 50, was the first culture and education minister of the re-established independent state of Lithuania, back in 1990-1992 – then he was still in his twenties. Now Kuolys is professor of the history of literature in Vilnius University. In 1988, during the Soviet occupation, he and his friends started issuing, illegally, their underground cultural magazine Sietynas. From 1998-2002 he was an adviser to Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus. Kuolys is an active participant in the liberal organization Santara-Sviesa, which was created by Lithuanian-American intellectuals in the U.S. in 1957. The organization, which is mostly known for its public intellectual discussions, moved to Lithuania in the 1990s.
Kuolys is known as a human rights activist. He publicly expressed his doubts about the guilt of Egle Kusaite, a 23 year-old convert to Islam who was accused by Lithuanian prosecutors of having terrorist intentions in Russia. Kusaite’s case is still pending in the courts.
This activist is famous as one of the organizers of several protest demonstrations which took place on Vilnius streets and squares this year, to support the demand for justice in the so-called Garliava case. The crime story, which can alter the Lithuanian political landscape after the parliamentary elections in the coming October, is well known by everybody in Lithuania. On Oct. 5, 2009, Drasius Kedys, 37, who said his young daughter had been the victim of pedophiles (including businessman Andrius Usas), gunned down (according to prosecutors’ suggestions, which were never confirmed in court) a Kaunas judge, Jonas Furmanavicius, and Violeta Naruseviciene, who was the aunt of Kedys’ daughter (her mother’s sister). Neringa Venckiene, who is the sister of the deceased Kedys, says that she does not believe that her brother was the killer.
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