RIGA - Kurzeme Regional Court in Liepaja has decided to releaseAivars Lembergs, mayor of the western Latvian port city of Ventspils, from house arrest.
Lembergs' trial on graft and money laundering charges continues, but the easing of restrictions on the colorful politician and businessman is a moral victory for the defendant.
Lemberg's lawyer Aivo Leimanis informed the media of the move on Feb 22. Leimanis said that his client is prohibited from meeting certain peopleand approaching certain objects.
The court, however, ruled on several other restrictions, which, accordingto Prosecutor Juris Juriss, are even more severe than the previoushouse arrest. The prosecutor could not mention the nature of these restrictions when asked byBNS, as the process of examining them all is ongoing.
Lembergs is still barred from resuming his duties as mayor of Ventspils. He has been kept under house arrestsince July 2007, though an earlier victory for his legal team saw him able to change the place of his incarceration from his Ventspils flat to his spacious country house.
Lembergs was detained on March 14, 2007, in connection with so calledVentspils corruption case involving numerous public officials in the port city.