Supreme Court upholds Tess' sentence

  • 2004-11-10
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The Latvian Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 11 to uphold a regional court's earlier decision to give Russian citizen Nikolai Tess a two-year suspended sentence. Tess, 83, was charged with genocide and committing crimes against humanity in post-war Latvia.

Tess pleaded not guilty during the Nov. 9 hearing, and said that the case against him had been fabricated. He further asked the court to close the criminal case and acquit him.

The Kurzeme regional court found Tess guilty last December for deporting 42 Latvian families in 1949, and gave him a two-year suspended sentence. The judge said the court had taken into account the defendant's age and poor health, as well as the fact that he had been carrying out orders by his superiors.

Tess is charged with crimes against humanity and genocide for his participation in the mass deportation of a Latvians in March 1949. As an official of the Soviet Latvian State Security Ministry, he both prepared and signed the deportation documents of 138 people, among them children and senior citizens, of whom 11 died during the exile.