American Court Punished Lithuanian Hijackers 32 Years After Crime

Lithuanian terrorist beat his father to death

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury convicted 46-year-old Algirdas Brazinskas today. Algirdas Brazinskas, a Lithuanian national, was convicted for killing his own father, Pranas Brazinskas (77),  in February of the current year.

Those two men were rather well known in the USSR. Father and son Brazinskas became “famous” after they took over  passenger jet An-24 with 49  people aboard. This accident happened 32 years ago. It was a great shocker for the Soviet government. It did not even occur to anyone that a plane could become an object of a terrorist attack. Therefore, there were neither special forces to release the hostages, nor the instructions for the pilots.  Air hostess Nadezhda Kurchenko (24) tried  to stop the terrorists from gaining access to the cockpit. She was shot dead.

The terrorists rushed into the cockpit, wounded several pilots and then ordered to fly to Turkey.  The chief of the plane’s crew later confessed that he was thinking of aiming the plane at the rocks. He refused from the idea, when he thought of the passengers. He decided to obey the terrorists.

When the plane landed in Turkey, the terrorists decided to yield to the Turkish government.  Later, they were convicted by a Turkish court to eight  and two years in jail: eight years for father and two years for son. The son, Algirdas Brazinskas, was only 15 years of age back in those days. Father Brazinskas was released from jail in 1974. Two years later they came to the USA.

When they arrived in America, they were arrested by the immigration services. The two men were arrested not for terrorism, but for the violation of the immigration law. However,  the Brazinskases managed to  get a permission to stay on the territory of the United States. They insisted on a political shelter, but the American authorities did not dare to do that. Their crime of terror was obvious, it was impossible to prove the opposite.

The USSR attempted to make the USA deliver the Lithuanian terrorists. Those attempts were not a success. A lot of American newspapers wrote that the two men were fighting for the freedom of Lithuania that had been occupied by the USSR. So, how could the USA deliver the “fighters” to the Soviet Union? The Americans knew that the Lithuanian men would be killed in this case.

The mother of the killed air hostess  repeatedly asked the American government to punish the terrorists, but the authorities rejected her request. The Americans actually justified the act of terrorism. It basically happened due to  the tense political relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Brazinskases’ guilt was evident. But the American government decided that they could use the men for its own purposes.

In the USA, father and son Brazinskas lived in Santa Monica. They worked as housepainters. They claimed that they were the fighters for Lithuania’s freedom. However, they did not come back to their homeland, even after Lithuania became independent in 1991.

It became known during the trial that the relations between father and son were always tense. Father Brazinskas has allegedly showed immense psychological pressure on his son. The story was over with the fact that the son killed his father. Those people were punished after 32 years of their actual crime.

Vasily Bubnov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka