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LITHUANIA

Tortured farm worker left hanging for hours

Two Lithuanian men arrested in Norway on Saturday have been released and cleared of any involvement in the brutal torture of one of their countrymen at a farm in Nærøy over the Easter holidays.

Tortured farm worker left hanging for hours
Photo: Morten Wengstad/Scanpix

On Saturday morning, the 30-year-old Lithuanian victim was found by his employer hanging upside down in a stairwell at the farm where he worked in Nærøy, north-central Norway.

He is believed to have been left hanging with his hands and feet bound for eight to ten hours, during which time he suffered serious muscular injuries.

Before being placed in an induced coma, the victim told police he had received a visit from two men at around midnight at his home on the farm where he has worked for several years.

Later on Saturday, two Lithuanian men were taken in for questioning after police arrested them in nearby Namsos for the possession of contraband goods.

“We thought it was natural to check up on them both after what happened in Nærøy, but there is nothing to suggest they had any involvement with the case,” police investigator Bengt Blom told broadcaster NRK.

The torture victim meanwhile has undergone a series of operations at St. Olav’s hospital in Trondheim. Hospital staff have indicated that he may be fit to speak to police about his ordeal on Wednesday.

Police investigator Hans-Petter Gjertsås said the culprits could face charges of attempted murder if caught.

“It’s evident that leaving somebody in this way could lead to death if the person in question doesn’t get help,” he told newspaper Adresseavisen.

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LITHUANIA

Norway’s Baltic F-16 in first run-in with Russians

The Norwegian F-16 aircraft sent to guard Nato’s eastern border have had their first run-in with a Russian aircraft, after an Antonov An-22 transport aircraft came close to entering Lithuanian airspace.

Norway's Baltic F-16 in first run-in with Russians
The Norwegian F-16 escorting the Russian Antonov An-22 on Sunday. Photo: Norwegian Air Force
According to Norway’s TV2 channel, the Russian aircraft remained in international airspace continually, giving the Norwegian pilot no cause to intervene.  But it did not have its transponders on, as this is not a requirement for aircraft travelling through international airspace. 
 
Norway on Thursday took over the revolving Nato mission in the Baltic States, which it will carry out for the next four months. 
 
Italy, the last country to have the job, sent its fighters out no fewer than 60 times in four months to intercept Russian planes.
 
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in November warned that the growing number of Russian military flights close to Nato borders is a threat to civil aviation.
 
“The problem is that many of the Russian pilots don’t turn on their transponders, they don’t file their flight plans and they don’t communicate with civilian air traffic control," he complained. "This poses a risk to civilian air traffic and therefore this is a problem, especially when the Russian activity increases – because they have more Russian military planes in the air.”
 
In December a Norwegian F-16 found itself in a near collision with a Russian MiG, which suddenly appears at its right. 
 
"We don't know if this was a mistake by the Russian pilot, or a sign of a more aggressive behaviour by the Russians,” Norwegian Armed Forces spokesman Brynjar Stordal told the Wall Street Journal.