On December 16, 1980, in Kelmė, the trial of [Miss] Gemma Jadvyga Stanelytė took place. The security police wanted this trial to be held without anyone's knowledge; even her closest relatives were not informed. Early in the morning while it was still dark, a group of Gemma's friends gathered at the courthouse doors. When a grey prison van stopped at the courthouse and a gap appeared among the police, one of Gemma's friends jumped towards the steel van and cried out loudly through the space between the doors, "Gemma! Dear Gemma! We're with you!"
Her friends found out where the courtroom was and quickly crowded in. The court personnel kept glancing uneasily at them as they sat in the courtroom. After a while, a trusty and a policeman entered and chased everyone out, saying that another case was to be tried in this chamber and that Stanelytė's case would come up later. After having been driven from the courtroom, Gemma's friends went to the presiding judge's chambers and found out that Gemma's trial would take place at noon in his chambers. Friends and acquaintances of the accused stood on the courthouse stairs and in the corridor because it was cold and damp outside. Greater and greater numbers kept gathering at the courthouse. They had come from the farthest corners of Lithuania: priests, the young, and elderly people. Everyone wanted to enter the courtroom, but the police were closely guarding the doors. Fathers Alfonsas Svarinskas, Sigitas Tamkevičius, and Vincas Vėlavičius arrived and introduced themselves as members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights and requested to see the presiding judge. But no arguments or demands had any effect on the people's government. The police did not even allow the priests through the doors into the corridor. Finally, by means of a ruse, they were able to lure many of those waiting to another outer door. The security police said that the people would be allowed into the courtroom through this small door, and those standing closest would get in. Finally, the trial began. About ten witnesses and those invited by the security police, about sixty in all, entered through a service entrance the chamber from which the others had been removed by trickery and threats. Gemma's sister was also allowed into the courtroom. Seeing M. Jurevičius from Šiauliai standing at the door, they allowed him to participate in the proceedings. All the others waited in the street.
The presiding judge was Raziūnas and the prosecutor was Murauskas. The defense counsel left the room when his services were refused by the defendant. As the trial began, one could hear the rosary being recited in the street, outside the window. The trial was recessed, the accused was taken away, and outside the pushing, dragging, and grabbing of the faithful began. Because so many policemen and security police had come, they easily coped with the people. Fathers Juozas Zdebskis, Saulius Kelpša, and Petras Gražulis were arrested. Their watches, belts, etc., were confiscated and they were thrown into dirty cells.
The police drove away the large crowd which had collected to the other side of the street and would not allow anyone near the courtroom doors.
After the crowd had been dispersed, the defendant, Stanelytė, was once again escorted into the courtroom accompanied by three soldiers armed with automatic weapons.
Gemma Jadvyga Stanelytė was accused of parasitism under Article 240 and under Article 199, Paragraph 3 for disturbing the peace.
The witnesses were summoned. The Tytuvėnai Township Chairman, the Kelmė Rayon traffic police, and others testified that on August 26, 1979, Stanelytė led a procession from Tytuvėnai to Šiluva. The sole witness, Čerška, a bus driver from Panevėžys, who had been driving past Tytuvėnai at the time in a passenger vehicle, correctly testified that the procession did not interfere much with traffic. The traffic police caused greater interruptions by checking the cars. The bus arrived at its destination on time, however. The court was very dissatisfied with Čerskas's testimony and even warned him.
The defendant, Stanelytė, boldly stated that she had organized and partially led the procession because old Lithuanian customs were dear to her. She had been motivated to organize the procession because of the erring youth of Lithuania. Five horrible months spent in the Lukiškės jail had confirmed this opinion perfectly, for here she had come into contact with youths who had lost all their ideals and all human feelings.
Since the court had accused the defendant of injuring the feelings of atheists with the procession and of lacking a permit, the accused responded that if the procession had not been religious, it would not have bothered anyone. As for the injured feelings of the atheists — she explained that atheists hurt the feelings of believers more often through television broadcasts, literature, etc. But they are never punished for this.
There was no evidence to support the charge of parasitism.
In her final statement Stanelytė said, "I am deeply religious. Even though freedom is precious, my religion is more precious to me than freedom."
The court sentenced Stanelytė to three years of ordinary-regime camp.
Even though the weather was cold and damp during the trial, the crowd outside did not disperse but steadily and constantly increased. Passersby asked what sort of criminal was being tried, and upon learning that she was being tried for being religious and for organizing a procession to Šiluva, they refused to believe it. Many remained standing about, wishing to see how it would all end. Those who had come a great distance, thorgh sleepless, hungry, and stiff from the cold, stood on the street for the whole day. Even though a heavy rain began towards evening, they did not disperse.
The faithful were very worried about the innocent people who were arrested, and when they were not released, they drew up a petition. Sixty people signed. But there was another problem; there was no one to present it to since the police would not allow them near any official. Anyone who approached an official was driven away. They were called "a brood hatched by bandits" and showered with unprintable words. The police pushed around those seeking justice and threatened to "take care of them."
When the trial had ended and the prison van had driven out into the street, the crowd began to toss flowers onto the vehicle, shouting, "Gemma! We love you! Gemma! We love you!
The crowd did not disperse even after the prison van left. They waited for those who had been arrested. Finally, one by one they appeared. The faithful met them with noisy enthusiasm and even presented Father Juozas Zdebskis with flowers right out on the street. The crowd then dispersed.
"To: P. Griškevičius, Secretary of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania
"Copy to: Chief of the Kelmė Rayon Department of Internal Affairs
"On December 16, 1980, we, the undersigned, came to participate in the public trial of [Miss] Jadvyga Stanelytė. The police and the security police would not allow any of us into the courtroom. They even drove us away from the courthouse itself. Three people, Father J. Zdebskis, Saulius Kelpša, and Petras Gražulis, were arrested without cause. On this occasion, we express our protest that Soviet officials are blatantly violating the Constitution and the laws of the Lithuanian SSR. We demand that the arrested individuals be released without delay.
(signed) [Miss] E. Šuliauskaitė, [Miss] L. Bružaite, [Miss] A. Ramanauskaitė, Rev. A. Svarinskas, [Miss] A. Montvilaitė, [Miss] N. Sadūnaitė, [Mrs.] Z. Vasauskienė, [Mrs.] A. Kaušliene, [Miss] B. Staniulytė, [Miss] J. Kerbelytė, [Miss] M. Gavėnaitė, [Miss] J. Kuodytė, [Miss] B. Mališkaitė, V. Vaičiūnas, [Miss] R. Kobkaitė, [Miss] G.Drungilaite, [Mrs.] J. Jankauskienė, [Miss] A. Umbrasaitė, [Miss] A. Kiaulevičiūtė, [Mrs.] B. Dakniniene, [Mrs.] P. Stankūnienė, [Miss] O. Kavaliauskaitė, [Miss] N. Šukevičiūtė, [Miss] R. Tamašauskaitė. I. Šileikis, [Miss]A. Šukytė, [Mrs.] E. Drungilienė, [Miss] P. Darjenytė, [Miss] O. Dranginytė, [Miss] V. Grincevičiūtė, [Mrs.] J. Meškauskienė, [Miss] l. Stankūnaitė, [Miss] M. Bieliauskaitė, Č. Meškauskas, [Miss] R. Teresiūtė, B. Miniotas, [Miss] E. Petrylaitė, [Mrs.] C. Ulevičienė, [Mrs.] B. Mušeliūnienė, [Miss] M. Klimkaitė, [Miss] D. Dambrauskaitė, [Miss] I. Pelionytė, [Miss] E. Žygaitė, [Mrs.] B. Šauklienė, [Miss] l. Briliūtė, [Mrs.] E. Žilienė, [Miss] R. Bumbliauskaitė, [Miss] G.Mačenskaitė, [Miss] V. Žiezdrytė, [Miss] D. Meškauskaitė, [Miss] G. Buzaitė, [Miss] M. Genytė, J. Petkevičius, [Miss] A. Augustinavičiūtė, [Miss] P. Šiaulytė, [Miss] T. Steponavičiūtė, [Miss] B. Briliūtė, P. Žąsinas, Rev. J. Razmantas, [Miss] B. Valaitytė, [Mrs.] A. Stukienė, Rev. S. Tamkevičius, [Miss] D. Dukauskaitė, Msgr. B. Antanaitis, [Miss] J. Baužaite, [Miss] B. Vazgelevičiūtė, [Miss] B. Griciūtė, [Miss] J. Judikevičiūtė"