Boris Dekanidze

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Boris Dekanidze (Georgian: ბორის დეკანიძე; 13 December 1962[1] – 12 July 1995) was the head of the Vilnius Brigade criminal organization in Lithuania. In 1994, he was convicted of ordering the murder of Lithuanian journalist Vitas Lingys 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 on 13 December 1962 in Vilnius to Georgian Jewish immigrants. He was a stateless person, not having been granted citizenship in Lithuania or Georgia. In Vilnius, he was the leader of the Vilnius Brigade criminal organization. The Vilnius Brigade mostly consisted of Lithuanian-born people of various ethnic groups (mostly Russians, Poles and 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 1994, 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 Igor Akhremov (fellow member of Vilnius Brigade), 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 criticized at being carried out even as the Lithuanian parliament was debating abolition of the death penalty.

Dekanidze's execution was the last act of death penalty in Lithuania and it was finally abolished for all crimes in 1998 after the Lithuanian Constitutional Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional.

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