A Lithuanian appeals court on Tuesday cut short jail sentences handed down to two former communist activists who took part in the 1991 Soviet crackdown against the pro-independence movement.
Jaroslavas Prokopovicius, 55, and Leonas Bartosevicius, 62, will walk free next week after the court shortened their prison terms to 18 months because of the convicts' poor health.
The two were sentenced in 1999 to four- and three-year jail terms for the attack on the Vilnius television tower in which 14 civilians who supported Lithuania's independence from Moscow were killed.
Another three convicted for the January 13, 1991 incident remain in prison.
The court decision is expected to please hardliners in the Russian Duma who have repeatedly demanded Lithuania release the "political prisoners" and held up ratification of a border agreement with the Baltic country in protest at their continued imprisonment – VILNIUS (AFP)
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