- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) - A U.S. lawmaker wants Congress to intervene to stop the extradition of an ex-Lithuanian parliamentarian and judge on charges stemming from her claims that a ring of influential Lithuanian pedophiles victimized her 4-year-old niece.

A bill introduced this week by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith would also free 47-year-old Neringa Venckiene (vehn-KEE’-ehn-nay) from a Chicago federal jail until American officials rule on her request for political asylum.

Smith has helped write U.S. child-exploitation laws. The New Jersey Republican said in a Tuesday statement to The Associated Press that Venckiene “should be praised, not charged, for her courage to hold public officials accountable and protect her niece.”

Lithuanian charges include criminal stalking for allegedly tracking suspected pedophiles. Venckiene fled Lithuania in 2013 and worked as a suburban Chicago florist until her February arrest.

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