Latvija in brief - 2006-04-12

  • 2006-04-12
Police detained a man suspected of having murdered a 9-year-old girl in Liepaja over the weekend. National Police spokeswoman Kristine Mezaraupe said the extensive search resulted in the detainment of a 28-year-old suspect - a resident of Liepaja - who has a lengthy criminal record. The suspect has been convicted five times before, including for sex crimes. Liepaja City and County Police Chief Arturs Vaiteks said there was evidence linking the man with the murder. The girl disappeared from a communal playground near a block of Liepaja apartments around 8 p.m. no April 7. Her body was found in a waste container the following night. She had been raped and strangled, then wrapped in a blanket and deposited in the waste container.

An adolescent shot and wounded a teenager in Jurmala on April 10, State Police said. Evita Spalvena, head of the Jurmala criminal police, said a 17-year-old youngster, who was under the influence of alcohol, shot a 15-year-old boy in the stomach during an argument. The injured boy was hospitalized in serious condition. Police later detained two suspects, the 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, in connection with the incident. Police also found a Cezet gun that the boys had dropped while fleeing the scene. Investigators established that the 17-year-old youth had stolen the weapon from his stepfather, who had kept the gun under his bed. Law enforcement authorities have opened a criminal procedure against the man for negligence in storing firearms, and another for intentionally causing serious bodily harm.

State correction centers are seriously overcrowded, a public report by the Prison Administration shows. As of Jan. 1, 2006, there were 116 inmates, including 11 women, in Vecumnieki jail, even though the jail accommodates only 80 people. The number of inmates recorded at the Olaine prison was 176, including 43 women, with only 100 places available. Chief inspector of the prison rehabilitation department, Karlis Serzants, said that the Justice Ministry had been informed about the problem. The solution, he said, is the prison development plan, which will upgrade all existing jails and expand three more jails by 2014.

A drunk driver from Latvia caused an accident in Poland on April 8, injuring 12 people. The Polish news agency PAP said the Latvian driver rammed his truck into a Polish minivan on the busy road from Szczecyn to Warsaw. The minivan was carrying a school basketball team to a game. The 12 passengers, all young girls, were rushed to a near-by hospital with minor bruises. Polish police determined the driver's blood alcohol levels at 0.7. The driver was arrested and may be sentenced to up to 4.5 years in prison.

The Defense Ministry submitted a proposal to the government declaring Nov. 28 - 29, when Riga hosts the NATO summit, as days off. All state-budget funded and government institutions will have the day off, a representative said, adding that the ministry recommended local authorities, businesses and other organizations to schedule the above dates as days off. The draft resolution was agreed on by the working group preparing the alliance summit.