A member of Latvian extremist group appeals fine

  • 2000-06-08
RIGA (BNS) - A member of the extremist organization Perkonkrusts, convicted in Latvia on attempts to bomb a war memorial, has filed an appeal against the sentence to offset a fine of 21,000 lats ($35,000) for damages to the Victory Monument. The group tried to blast the monument several times, said the Riga Regional Court Chancellery June 5.

The appellate claim was filed by Harijs Radzins, 39, who has been sentenced to two years and eight months in jail. As he had already spent this period in jail before the trial, Radzins was released in the courtroom.

By the court decision, several defendants were ruled liable for blasting the monument, and after the court session they vowed to appeal the civil claim by the Riga City Council for damages related to restoration of the Victory Monument crippled by the explosion.

The Riga Regional Court on May 29 ruled to release three of the five defendants in the Perkonkrusts case as they had already served the sentences passed on them. There was a total of nine defendants in the case who received sentences ranging from 1.5 years' suspended jail terms to three years' actual imprisonment.

The court also ruled to exact 21,000 lats from defendants who took part in the blast.

Of nine defendants, five were held under arrest pending the court ruling. From the five, Andris Kiploks, Janis Ligeris and Harijs Radzins were released in the court room for time served while Andris Ligeris was to remain in custody until September and Igors Siskins until April 24, 2001.

The oldest member of the organization, Vilis Linins, 72, received a suspended sentence of 1.5 years in jail.

Two of the defendants, Vilis Linins and Janis Ligeris, claimed they had not done anything wrong and did not regard themselves as criminals.

The indictment said the defendants on two occasions arranged blasts at central heating company Rigas Siltums's heat pipeline near Zemitani train station in Riga. On several occasions they blasted the Victory Monument in suburban Riga as well as attempted to arrange a blast at electric utility company Latvenergo.