Latvija in brief - 2012-04-12

  • 2012-04-11

The Dutch Prosecutor’s Office has demanded a 20 year prison sentence to be handed down to Latvia-born Dutch citizen Roberts Mikelsons, accused of sexually abusing 67 children and making child pornography, reports Radio Netherlands. Prosecution lawyer Maaike Bienfait said, “Unfortunately, the sexual abuse of children is not unique. However, the severity, the scale and the method that Mikelsons went about it is.” Bienfait made the claim in the closing arguments of the prosecution’s case against Mikelsons and his partner Richard van Olffen, who is also on trial as an accessory to the abuse. Mikelsons has admitted to systematically abusing children from 2007 until his arrest in December 2010. The sex offender was detained in December 2010. The local prosecutor’s office says that Mikelsons chose young children because they were not able to tell anyone about his crimes. In many cases. Mikelsons became a Dutch citizen when he married van Olffen in 2004.

In yet another attempt to push an already strained budget over the cliff, in the April 10 session of the Traffic and Transport Affairs Committee, Riga City Council members supported Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs’ (Harmony Center) motion to introduce free public transportation for children in grades 1-12 as of Sept. 1. The opposition, not wanting to miss the opportunity to spend taxpayer money, emphasized that vocational education students should also be able to use Riga public transportation free of charge. Public transportation is currently free of charge for all children in grades 1-4. Those in grades 5-12 have a 50 percent discount. Usakovs proposed that this group be entitled to free public transportation as well. Municipal public transportation company Rigas Satiksme head Leons Bemhens said it will be necessary to raise the company’s subsidy by 3.1 million lats (4.4 million euros) . Expect taxes to head higher.