Latvija in brief - 2012-05-31

  • 2012-05-30

Two members of the International Mountain Guides expedition, mountain climbers from Latvia, early Saturday reached the peak of Mt. Everest, reports LETA. Taking advantage of good weather conditions, the 26-person group was successful in reaching the 8,848-meter point. The two from Latvia - Olga Kotova and Vadims Prudnikovs. International Mountain Guides reports that the group’s descent was also successful, and all 26 safely returned to the base camp.

The Riga Regional Court sentenced lawyer Nikolajs Zikovs to 17 years in prison, property confiscation and three years probation for murdering banker Aigars Egle in the Citadele movie theater in 2011, reports LETA. He pleaded not guilty. Zikovs shot and killed the Citadele Bank employee Egle in Riga’s Forum Cinemas multiplex on Feb. 19, 2011. According to eyewitnesses, during the movie Black Swan, Zikovs was loudly eating popcorn and talking, and not respecting other audience members’ objections. Egle and Zikovs began arguing as they got up to exit after the movie was over. Zikovs then pulled out a gun and fired several shots at Egle, killing him. Fellow audience members caught Zikovs as he was trying to flee; he was later handed over to State Police.

Dutch judges have handed down an 18-year sentence plus indefinite treatment in a psychiatric institution to Latvia-born Dutch citizen Roberts Mikelsons, who molested dozens of extremely young children in Amsterdam preschools and then shared videos and images of the acts on the Internet, reports AP/BBC. Mikelsons has been dubbed ‘the Monster of Riga’ by the Dutch national press. He was convicted of abusing 67 victims, though he confessed to more. Most were toddlers, but the youngest were infants, some only weeks old. The case deeply shocked the Netherlands when Mikelsons was arrested in December 2010, following a tip from American law enforcement authorities. There were dramatic scenes in court with the accused throwing water and directing obscene gestures at the judge. Presiding judge Hans Bauduin said that he had imposed a long sentence in view of the “nature of the facts, the refined way they were planned and their duration.” Bauduin added that Mikelsons’ expressions of remorse were not credible and gave them no weight in sentencing. Mikelsons’ husband, Richard van Olffen, was sentenced to six years in prison for ‘facilitating’ the committal of the crimes.