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Supreme Court defends Kazakov

  • 2006-02-24
  • By TBT staff
RIGA - The Latvian Supreme Court Senate has defended Russian-school activist Alexander Kazakov, after he filed a complaint over his recent blacklisting.

The court ruled that, when deciding on Kazakov's blacklisting, the interior minister failed to consider the consequences such a move would have on Kazakov's private life. The court deemed this a serious procedural violation, and therefore revoked the minister's decision to ban the Russian from entering Latvia.

It was pointed out, however, that the interior minister had not taken into account Kazakov's emotional and social ties with Latvia, his chances of finding accommodation in Russia, and how the decision would affect relations with his mother, who lives in Latvia.

"We are very glad that the court dared tell the minister that he has violated the law and that human rights apply also to foreigners," said Kazakov's representative, Elizabete Krivcova, after the ruling.

Violations of a person's right for privacy have a legal purpose, the court said -- to protect the security of state and society, as well as public order. However, the court said the measure was disproportionate in this case.

The court rejected Kazakov's argument that the interior minister should have specified the threat he was allegedly posing to the Latvian state. Although the law does not require this, the court said, by revealing such information the minister could jeopardize the state's interest.

Authorities did not violate Kazakov's rights to know his legal options, it was ruled. However, freedom of expression, if it is exercised in relation with political activities, cannot be a sufficient reason for cancelling a decision on blacklisting, the senate said.

The Supreme Court Senate's ruling is final and cannot be further appealed.

Kazakov, aide of the Russian MP Dmitry Rogozin, was expelled from Latvia overnight on Sept. 4, 2004. His expulsion was announced during a special press briefing by then Interior Minister Eriks Jekabsons, who said Latvia "could not be kind forever to a person intentionally bent on inciting ethnic hatred."

The Russian Foreign Ministry requested that Latvia provide official explanation for Kazakov's expulsion.

Kazakov was an active member of the Shtab, an unregistered organization that organized mass protests against the education reform in Latvia.