Kalvitis wants prosecutor to reveal source of pressure

  • 2005-02-16
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said on Thursday that he wants Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis to disclose the political forces that are exerting pressure on his office.

In an interview with Latvian public television, Kalvitis said officials should not be afraid to speak about being pressured by outside forces. "I would like to hear [Maizitis] and learn [the facts], for it is very important... also for the work of the government, to understand who are these players who are against law, who are attempting in some way to block investigation of some specific cases," he said.

In recent days the Neatkariga Riga Avize daily, which is aligned with Ventspils-based business interests and the city's mayor, Aivars Lembergs, has published a series of articles alleging that Maizitis violated the law by providing information to the former U.S. ambassador to Latvia about a criminal investigation linked to a U.S. company.

The prosecutor general has said that he has been under political pressure but so far has declined to reveal the names behind it.

Last year the Ventspils City Council took out ad space in nearly every leading publication in Latvia criticizing the prosecutor's office for pursuing investigations into local business interests.

Both the embassy and leading government officials, including President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, have called these allegations groundless. The president did not rule out the possibility that these allegations could be linked to attempts to block Maizitis' re-appointment for another term, which comes to a close in March.

A group of leading intellectuals signed an open letter to the government officials appealing to them to re-appoint Maizitis for another term.

Vike-Freiberga praised Maizitis' work on Thursday, saying said that during the past five years since Maizitis holds the post the work of the Prosecutor General's Office has made progress. "He has done all to improve work of the prosecutor's office," she said.

She said that what matters most is for the prosecutor general to enjoy support of the parliament and for him to be able to work in environment free of pressure on the part of economic groups and political parties.