Latvija in brief - 2007-05-30

  • 2007-05-30
The Riga Regional Court on May 25 acquitted all defendants in a case involving incitement of ethnic hatred in the publications of the ultra-nationalist newspaper DDD. Prosecutor Ieva Garance had asked the court to impose fines of 4,800 lats (6,829 euros) on Aivars Garda, the leader of the radical Latvian National Front, and his deputy Ilze Liepa, and a 6,000 lat fine on DDD's Editor in Chief Liga Muzikante. The defendants had published a Russian language supplement to their paper in the predominantly Russian-speaking city of Daugavpils. The supplement referred to Russians as "cancer cells," "occupiers," and "Latvia's internal enemies."

Police detained 13 people for drug related offenses at the massive Sensation White dance party over the weekend of May 26th. Three of the detainees were Lithuanian citizens and one was a British national. Officers also found cocaine on two people, but in relatively small amounts. Eleven people were caught in possession of ecstasy pills, in amounts ranging from one to nine. Law enforcement officers also drew up four protocols for petty misdemeanors, 10 protocols for using alcohol in a public place, and 15 protocols for using drugs without a doctor's prescription. Sensation White is the world's largest show of its kind.

A suspect who was allegedly involved in the Ventspils corruption scandals was put on an international list of wanted criminals after a May 15 court ruling. Former LNT executive Laimonis Junkers was included in the list as a "technical continuation" of the court action, prosecutor's office spokesman Andrejs Vasks said. Law enforcement authorities have already detained a number of suspects in connection with the Ventspils corruption case, including Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs.

A ship docked in Riga Port sank on May 26 after a fire broke out on board. The ship was carrying diesel fuel, approximately two tons of which spilled out. Anti-pollution booms were set up around the accident site to try to control the environmental damage. Rescue workers report that when the ship is lifted out of the water, more of the fuel will spill, making it difficult to predict the exact amount of diesel that spilled into the river. Police suspect that the fire was either caused by a lightning strike or by a malfunction in the engine room.

The Prosecutor's Office on May 25 handed over a human trafficking case to the Zemgale Regional Court. Charges were brought against a 19-year-old resident of Tukums after she allegedly tried to sell her seven-month-old baby on the Internet for 2,000 lats (2,800 euros). Worried residents, noticing the advertisement on the Internet, called police. The mother of the child said during the pre-trial investigation that the attempt to sell the child was just a joke. The woman was not in custody during the investigation.