Latvija in brief - 2010-12-09

  • 2010-12-08

 Moscow court on Dec. 3 handed down a three-year jail sentence for Latvian citizen Sergejs Demcenko, one of the persons convicted in the Arctic Sea hijacking case, reports LETA. According to Interfax news agency, Demcenko has pleaded guilty; he also cooperated with investigators, which is why he was given the shortest possible prison sentence for a person convicted of piracy. Earlier, another two residents of Latvia - Dmitrijs Savins and Andrejs Lunovs - were convicted in the case and sentenced to seven and five years in prison, respectively. According to statements made by Russia, the Arctic Sea with a crew of 15 was hijacked on July 24 last year in the Baltic Sea near the shores of Sweden. A Russian warship rescued the ship and the crew, and captured the so-called ‘pirates’ on Aug. 17 last year. The event was highly secretive, with suspicion that the Russian-chartered ship was smuggling a high-tech missile system to Iran.

The United States has good relations with many countries, and the WikiLeaks publications will not damage relations much with these countries, the U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Judith Garber said in an interview with Latvian State Television broadcast 100.pants (100th Article) on Dec. 2, reports LETA. She emphasized that the Obama administration has a very practical foreign policy, which will be able to overcome the current problems. Garber emphasized that she will not comment further on the contents of the WikiLeaks publications, because circulating classified documents is a criminal activity in the United States. The ambassador emphasized that relations between Latvia and the U.S are very good, and expressed confidence that relations will improve even more. “We have successful cooperation in many areas - economic, military, education, culture. The United States is very optimistic in regard to future cooperation with Latvia,” said Garber.

Surrounded by scandal, Corruption Prevention Bureau (CPB) Chief Normunds Vilnitis is requesting the prosecutor’s office to examine the legality of three orders for the CPB, issued by Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis in November, including one about handing in a revised reorganization plan by Dec. 6, reports LETA. Vilnitis states that he has no intention of submitting any new proposals because the Inter-institutional Commission in its final report had already pointed out that the existing reorganization plan has resolved the “overlapping of functions” problem. This means that no revised plan was submitted on Dec. 6, despite what Dombrovskis told members of the press. Vilnitis had been instructed to prepare new proposals for CPB’s new structure, hand them in to the PM, but not before reviewing them with CPB’s council and aligning them with the inter-institutional commission.