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Sunday, 4 March, 2001, 13:03 GMT
Gecas protests his innocence
Anton Gecas
Anton Gecas could be extradited from Britain
A war-crime suspect who could be extradited from Scotland to Lithuania has spoken of his anger over what he called "false" accusations.

An arrest warrant for Anton Gecas, 85, of Edinburgh, was served by a district court in Vilnius last month.

Mr Gecas has denied killing civilians while working in a Second World War police battalion in Lithuania.

He told a Sunday newspaper: "It makes me very cross that I am being accused of murdering all these people after all these years.

Anton Gecas
Mr Gecas has denied war crimes
"I was an officer in the Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalion with the Germans in Lithuania, but never did those terrible things."

In the Mail on Sunday, he added: "There is not a month goes by when I am not being attacked as a war criminal.

"Every day I worry they may succeed in getting me deported and take me from my family.

"Friends and neighbours know what kind of man I am and still respect me; they know I was not capable of these things."

Mr Gecas said: "I love Edinburgh and never want to leave it."

He moved to Scotland in 1947 after service as a platoon commander in a police battalion which fought on behalf of the Germans after they invaded Lithuania.

Mr Gecas worked as an engineer with the former National Coal Board, and he now runs a guest house in Edinburgh.

Ministerial decision

The extradition procedure means that any request from Lithuania for Mr Gecas to be arrested would first go to Foreign Office, and from there to the Scottish Executive.

Scottish ministers would then scrutinise the request to ensure it was valid and an arrest warrant would be issued by a sheriff.

This would lead to an arrest, which would then be followed by a sheriff court hearing which would assess issues such as the legal grounds for extradition.

The case would then go to Scottish ministers for a decision.

Both the sheriff court's ruling and the decision by ministers could be the subject of an appeal, which would be heard in Edinburgh.

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See also:

19 Feb 01 | Scotland
Legal battle looms in Gecas case
09 Jan 01 | Scotland
Backing for 'war crimes' extradition
10 Jan 00 | Scotland
Call to reopen Gecas case
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