In 2008, 4-year-old Deimante Kedyte described her sexual assault by high-level Lithuanian officials. Her testimony was later verified as true by 4 separate commissions. She never had her day in court. Her father pursued justice, but was murdered in 2010. Deimante’s aunt, Neringa Venckiene, was awarded custody of the girl and provided a loving home. When Neringa started The Way of Courage Party to fight corruption in Lithuania, she, her family, and supporters were persecuted by the government. In May of 2012, a terrified Deimante was abducted from Neringa’s home by 240 government agents. Neringa feared for her life and fled Lithuania with her son in 2013. Today, the Lithuanian government continues to persecute Neringa by attempting to get the U.S. to extradite her back to Lithuania.
My mom, Neringa Venckienė, a former Lithuanian judge and Parliament member, fled Lithuania with me from political persecution, and we arrived in the U.S.A. in 2013 when I was just 13-years-old. As my mom filed for and has been waiting here for a political asylum hearing to take place, I became more hopeful and at ease because I was not afraid for her safety or mine anymore as was a daily reality back in Lithuania where my uncle (my mom’s brother) was murdered because he was trying to expose pedophiles among high-ranking Lithuanian officials who molested his daughter Deimantė.
My mom became a target after she publicly started speaking about the bribery and corruption in the Lithuanian courts, the government and its media did not succeed in intimidating her. My 8-year- old cousin Deimantė, whose father was murdered, was abducted by government forces from my mother’s care. My mother was her legally appointed guardian at that time. The government called it “a child’s return to her mother operation,” but that was actually an elimination of an inconvenient witness operation with the help of 240 special forces and the intimidation of everyone in Lithuania who sought the truth in the pedophilia and murder case (more people were murdered in this case than just my uncle). My cousin was returned to the person she was testifying against. I was really scared and could not even imagine what is going to happen to Deimantė.
To stop the anti-corruption and truth movement, government forces had to eliminate my mom because she was not intimidated. The Lithuanian people elected her to Parliament to fight against corruption and to seek the truth. She proposed many laws among which there was stricter punishment for pedophiles, but all of them were blocked by the dominant parties in Parliament. When the prosecutors brought charges against my mom, all of her opponents announced that they’ll support the removal of her legal immunity, before the investigation took place. We moved to U.S.A. to find safety and to have a fair hearing, where she would defend herself and expose the terrible crime in Lithuania that the government was seeking to cover up. Two weeks ago my mom was was arrested, and the Lithuanian government is seeking her extradition, before the political asylum case is over.
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