RIGA - Yet another British national has been caught relieving himself on the Freedom Monument, the latest in what has become routine arrest for Riga policemen and is bound to strengthen resolve in meting out harsher punishment.
On Feb. 19, the Riga Regional Court handed out a five day administrative arrest to Shirzey Heshmat, a 34-year-old British national, for urinating on the statue.
It was the first time that the court has given out time behind bars for the offense. In the past, perpetrators were faced with a fine of about 50 lats (71 euros).
Heshmat denied that he was relieving himself when he was arrested, insisting that he had been running around the monument for fun when his pants fell down.
He claimed that when the Alfa police squad 's the most elite unit available to the force 's apprehended him he was in the process of pulling his pants up.
The court did not believe his story, and took his false testimony into account in the ruling.
The incident came approximately a week after Interior Minister Mareks Seglins blasted the growing trend, saying that the practice was "disgusting."
"I urge municipal police staff to be harsher and less tolerant within the limits of the existing legal norms," the minister told the Baltic News Service.
State Police Chief Aldis Lieljuksis agreed with the sentiment, as did Riga city Mayor Janis Birks, both of whom backed the call for harsher punishments.