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Šarūnas Narbutas hasn't added a story.
After 18 months of victimization I will stand criminal trial
I haven’t posted an updated for almost a year as I am officially silenced and risking ending up in prison merely for writing a sentence speaking about my trial. This time, I can state some facts that were made publicly available by the investigators (Special Investigation Agency – STT and Prosecutor’s Office).
Few days before New Year, it was publicly announced that my case is sent to criminal court and I will be tried on two offences: (1) abusing public office, (2) committing fraud. I am now officially an “accused” person, who will be undergoing criminal trial, likely lasting 2-3 additional years.
If you were following my saga from the beginning, you may remember that in July 2020 I was arrested, publicly shamed on the allegiations of “trading in influence” and “extorting the bribe from Spanish company”.
These allegations were silently dropped, and the case was terminated.
To refresh your memory, the pretext to target me was based on the fact that I was acting as a commercial agent representing Spanish private company, who sold COVID-19 PCR tests in the deal where Lithuanian public laboratory procured over 300 000 COVID-19 PCR tests during the first wave of pandemic back in March 2020.
These tests were delivered from China to Lithuania at a record time (less than a week), when there were no tests left in Lithuania. If this deal had not happened, Lithuania all PCR testing nation-wide would have been on halt for at least 4-6 weeks, when other suppliers were able to deliver their contracted goods.
But surprise, surprise – despite investigation against me was terminated after establishing that no criminal offense was committed, instead of one allegation I received two new allegations, which make no logical, nor legal sense. I will attempt to explain them.
First – that I was a de facto public servant and by receiving the money from private company I have abused the public office. I can say with 100% certainty that I was not a de facto public servant, nor I had any idea that I could be.
Second – that because I had withheld information from Spanish private company that I am de facto public servant they had paid me for my commercial services and in such a way I have committed fraud. Again, I could say with 100% certainty that I was honest with everyone and could not have withheld any information that I am not aware exists!
Also, there is no evidence in the case to support these accusations and everything speaks to the contrary. Normally prosecutor should need to prove every statement that they make, but in my situation under the presumption of being guilty I must dismiss all the nonsense both in the court room as well as in the media.
Again, accusations are worded in a way that is deliberately misleading, not even Lithuanians reading Lithuanian text can understand what criminal offense I am accused of committing.
I am attaching the links in Lithuanian (you can use google translate to try to make sense of it):
(1) Link to the biggest portal in Lithuania,
(2) Link to the press release by Prosecutor’s office.:
Thank you for all your emotional and financial support throughout these two challenging years!
As long as there will be supporters, I will have energy to fight back and be acquitted.
Your support towards legal fees of over 33 000 EUR have allowed me to dispute the initial allegations and to lift various restrictions – together with my legal team we have filed over 40 appeals, that subsequently led to the investigation being terminated.
Legal defense funds were also used to file the petition to European Court of Human Rights for violation of 10 articles of European Convention of Human Rights. So, there is a pending case Narbutas v Lithuania, where the Government will be standing trial for abusing their authority against civil activist.
Without your donations, the investigation would have lasted way longer!
Now I am launching another round to fundraise additional 44 000 EUR for legal fees in criminal court proceedings in Lithuania and for arguing my case in front of European Court of Human Rights. The exact required amount is not clear at this stage, and I will be posting regular updates on the developments in the case.
Below is a recap of facts why I need legal funds:
- All my personal bank accounts and assets remain frozen. Any income that I earn is frozen at a moment it reaches my bank account. This means I can’t use my current funds to pay legal fees as I am not even able to use my funds to pay the rent, utilities, food, taxes, and healthcare.
- My case file includes over 7000 pages, most of them not even related to accusation. All the documents have to be assessed by my attorney and examined in court.
- There are dozens of witnesses and dozens of court sessions in the first instance court that will require hundreds of hours to prepare for and hundreds of hours to attend court sessions.
- A separate litigation process is progressing in European Court of Human Rights where all Lithuanian evidence have to be translated to English and vice versa.
- All the financial donations go directly to the account of my attorney, that is the only way for me to pay the legal fees.
Below is the background to the story I posted 18 months ago
I'm Šarūnas Narbutas, 33 years old, living in Vilnius (Lithuania) with my wife. I have been diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer (CML) for 15 years now and am on active therapy still. For the past decade I have been leading cancer patient organisations at national, European and global level, I have launched / advocated for dozens of policy / legal initiatives at national level and in front of international organisations, receiving multiple national and international awards for my advocacy roles. I earned my income as a lawyer, consultant, and entrepreneur.
Since COVID-19 outbreak in March of 2020, I have been vocally sceptic about Lithuanian government decisions relating to COVID-19 and the provision of healthcare services to cancer patients, publicly encouraging government to take a different course of action and learn from the mistakes. There were hundreds of my comments on national media (online portals, TV news, radio shows) and in the international press. In June of 2020 I have also been invited to address Lithuanian Parliament in the plenary session after which a resolution supporting my arguments has been passed by the Parliament. In October 2020, Parliament elections were held in Lithuania and government has changed. In Lithuania, for years I have been perceived as civil activist, who during the pandemic era was also gaining substantial public support and was increasingly vocal about detrimental governmental decisions.
Innocent until proven guilty?
On July 21 of 2020, completely by surprise I was arrested at my home without a lawful court order solely on an alleged suspicion of influencing a government decision to procure COVID-19 tests. Those suspicions have been dropped in October of 2021.
In a series of highly unusual circumstances the Lithuanian Special Investigation Service (STT) detained me for two days, seizing my personal belongings (telephone, computers) and have frozen all my assets and all bank accounts without a court order. They proceeded to parade me before the national press without giving me any recourse to rebut the alleged suspicions. In addition, they even took the unprecedented measure of publishing a press release in English, something STT does not do regularly in which they attempted to link this investigation to my work as a cancer patient advocate which is completely false. These measures have done immeasurable damage to my reputation nationally and internationally. I was also prohibited to comment anything publicly about on-going investigation, while STT has initiated dozens of press articles, smearing me. One sided information has created a public perception that I am already guilty of crime, even those allegations have been dropped (in silence).
In a normally functioning democracy, the right to innocence until proven guilty is a core pillar of a fair trial. However, the press releases and official comments from the Special Investigation Service (STT), Prosecutor's General Office followed by a media frenzy for months have voided my presumption of innocence and breached my right to privacy. Furthermore, in his interview back in August 2020 even the President of the Republic of Lithuania has referred to my activities as "maraudering", further politicising the legal proceedings.
In March of 2020, in my private capacity I acted as a commercial agent between the Lithuanian government and an international company in the procurement of desperately needed COVID-19 PCR tests. These tests were delivered within less than a week, have been cheaper than tests that arrived months later, have been compatible to be used in all public laboratories and have allowed the government to increase testing of Lithuanian population by tenfold and becoming a leading country globally for conducting COVID-19 PCR tests during the first wave. While Lithuanian taxpayers have saved up to 2 million Euros from such procurement, for my role in the process I am facing criminal proceedings, with a sanction of imprisonment from 2 to 8 years because I have received a payment from the seller (Spanish private company) for my services as a commercial agent. None of this has been disputed in the investigation, none of this is illegal in any European Union country.
All my personal assets have been frozen for 1,5 years now and I have no way to access my personal funds. Such remedies are breaching EU regulation prohibiting freezing of funds used for legal aid, access to healthcare services, payment of taxes. This is why I have launched this crowdfunding, asking for your help to contribute towards the legal fees in what will be a lengthy and costly process in my fight for a fair trial under the presumption of innocence.
Most of my days during past year were spent drafting appeals to unjustified arrests and undue proceedings. For example, I was not allowed to visit the hospital where I was being treated for my cancer condition. I was also facing new restrictions whenever I dared to publicly question the rationality of such criminal proceedings. There were dozens of articles and news report by Lithuanian media, spanning over a year, further smearing my reputation, and preventing me from acting in any capacity in national organisations and policy area.
In February 2021 I have filed the appeal to European Court of Human Rights on violation of 10 articles of European Convention of Human Rights and am waiting for a court hearing (this process will take several more years). All my bank accounts and assets remain frozen, and it makes it impossible to fund my legal defense. Therefore, all funds received from this campaign is used solely to cover my legal fees and are deposited directly in the account of my attorney.
I am also in discussion with several investigative journalists and film directors to cover my politized case at-length in order to bring to light these abusive practices used by Lithuanian enforcement agencies and politicians similar to depicted in “House of Cards”, including Heads of State - from the President of Lithuania, former Prime Minister, former Ministers, current Government Ministers, current Heads of Parliamentary Committees and had impact even to foreign policy, including China banning goods export to Lithuania.
Please spread the word
With your help and support I do hope to make it through these life-changing proceedings that are impacting my relatives even more than they affect me. By sharing this campaign with others, you will stand for the presumption of innocence and against the brute force of enforcement agencies, abusing the process to silence civil activists. Please take a moment to share it on Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, email or by word of mouth. My example is a proof that Lithuanian enforcement authorities are targeting civil activists and are abusing their powers by declining my Constitutional rights to a fair trial, to a presumption of innocence, to a legal defense and pay no respect to private life or private property.
Thank you for your support and goodwill. And for not staying silent.
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