Aviators liberated in India to return to Latvia

  • 2000-08-03
RIGA (BNS) - Five aviators from Latvia who were sentenced to life imprisonment in India and later released were expected to return to Latvia on Aug. 2 after more than five years spent abroad.

Slated to return to Latvia were Alexander Klishin, Oleg Gaidash, Igor Timmerman, Yevgeny Antimenko and Igor Moskvitin.

It is not yet known precisely how many of them will be willing to reside in Latvia, but so far three of them have not ruled out the possibility.

Residence permits are issued by Citizenship and Migration Affairs Department and it is not known at this point what decision it could make in the event the residence permits are requested.

The Indian court in February sentenced the five to life imprisonment as it ruled them guilty in weapons smuggling and plotting aimed at overthrowing the West Bengali government. They were unexpectedly released July 22 as the Indian president had pardoned them.

Since then, the aviators have been staying in Moscow where they met with the local officials and saw doctors.

Nearly all of the aviators have relatives residing in Latvia. Timmerman in Latvia has a sister and mother, age 70. Klishin's wife has gone to live in Russia but he has a daughter in Latvia who is now married. Antimenko has a wife and two children and Moskvitin has a wife and a 7-year old-child in Latvia. Gaidash is divorced.

The aviators were held in jail since 1995 when they were detained after dropping a cargo of weapons over West Bengal.