Belarus' demand to extradite opposition politician Tsepkalo has to be denied - foreign minister

  • 2021-02-09
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The demand made by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's regime to extradite opposition politician Valery Tsepkalo has to be denied, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said on social networks.

The minister indicated that in accordance with Latvia's laws, a decision on this matter will be taken by competent law enforcement authorities upon weighing all aspects of the case.

Latvian Justice Minister Janis Bordans (New Conservative Party) also wrote on social networks that Tsepkalo must not be turned over to Lukashenko's regime. "A law-based and democratic system is one of Latvia's fundamental values. We need to support our neighbor country in its efforts to strengthen democratic change," Bordans said. 

The justice minister noted that he met with Valery and Veronika Tsepkalo at the end of last year and reassured the Belarusian opposition representatives that when it comes to strengthening democratic change, Belarus can count on Latvia as one of its closest allies in the European Union.

As reported, a Belarusian investigation committee has launched a procedure to request opposition leader Valery Tsepkalo's extradition from Latvia to Belarus, Belarus 1 TV channel reported on Monday evening.

"The investigation committee has sent to the Prosecutor General's Office documents on initiating the procedure. Tsepkalo in Belarus is accused of a number of corruption crimes," the TV channel reported.

Tsepkalo left Belarus un July 2020 after reports that he might face a detention, and initially went to Russia. At present Tsepkalo and his wife are staying in Latvia.

Tsepkalo planned to run for the Belarus presidential elections on August 9, but the election commissions refused to register his candidacy.