RIGA - Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) believes that it is necessary to begin discussions on the possibility of reviewing the Latvia-U.S. extradition agreement, said Reform Party press secretary Kaspars Odins, reports LETA.
The minister points out that in recent years, European countries have been less inclined to extradite their citizens to other countries. “I believe we should start discussions on whether or not to review the Latvia-U.S. extradition agreement, adding tighter regulations on the observation of human rights, as well as guarantees that persons convicted are able to serve their sentences in Latvia,” Rinkevics said.
“My point of view in the [Deniss] Calovskis affair is based on legal arguments made by highly qualified professionals, and this point of view has not changed. Latvia must ensure that the human rights of its citizens are observed,” said the foreign minister.
He explained that the Calovskis case is different than others, as there is still no assurance whether his punishment will be commensurate and whether he will be able to serve his sentence in Latvia. According to the Latvian Criminal Process Law, if a foreign court hands down a sentence that does not conform with the applicable sentence of the same crime in accordance with the Criminal Law in Latvia, then the court in Latvia alters the sentence so that it is in accordance with the Criminal Law. The sentence cannot also exceed the maximum sentence set out in the Criminal Law for the same crime.
Deniss Calovskis is a Latvian citizen charged with cyber crimes in the United States, and wanted by the U.S. to stand trial. On Aug. 6, the Latvian government decided to extradite Calovskis to the United States.
Rinkevics explains that, at the moment, only the U.S. side has expressed interest in beginning discussions on allowing Calovskis to serve his sentence in Latvia, if necessary. However, he adds that the Latvia-U.S. extradition agreement does not have a certain time limit format in which such a matter can be agreed upon. If found guilty by a U.S. court, Calovskis could be sentenced to 67 years in prison.