Boris Dekanidze

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Boris Dekanidze (Georgian: ბორის დეკანიძე, Russian: Борис Деканидзе) (born 13 December 1962 in Vilnius;[1] died 12 July 1995) was the head of the "Vilnius Brigade" organized crime gang in Lithuania. In 1994, he was convicted of ordering the murder of a journalist and was executed by Lithuania. Dekanidze was the last person executed by Lithuania prior to its abolition of the death penalty in 1998.[2]

Biography[edit]

Dekanidze was born in Lithuania to Georgian Jewish immigrants. He was a stateless person, not having been granted citizenship in Lithuania or Georgia. In Vilnius, he was a leader of the Vilnius Brigade mafia group. The Vilnius Brigade mostly consists of ethnic Lithuanians, although Boris Dekanidze as well as his brother were Georgian Jews.

In 1993, after receiving a number of death threats, Vitas Lingys, one of the founders and publishers of the newspaper Respublika, was shot at point-blank range near his home in Vilnius.[3] Dekanidze was arrested and charged with ordering the murder, which police said was carried out by Igor Akhremov.

In a 1994 trial, Dekanidze was convicted of deliberate murder by a three-judge panel. Dakanidze claimed he was innocent, and the evidence against him was primarily the testimony of Akhremov, who claimed to have carried out the killing on Dekanidze's orders. On 10 November 1994, Dekanidze was sentenced to death and Akhremov was sentenced to life imprisonment. Lithuanian authorities shut down a nuclear power plant after a terrorist threat was made against it the day after the convictions were handed down.[4] Dekanidze appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but it ruled in February 1995 that there were no grounds for reviewing the death sentence. His appeal for clemency to President Algirdas Brazauskas was also refused.

Dekanidze was executed on 12 July 1995 in Vilnius by a single shot to the back of his head. The execution has been criticised at being carried out even as the Lithuanian parliament was debating abolition of the death penalty.

No one has been executed by Lithuania since Dekanidze's death. Lithuania abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 1998 after the Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional.

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