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RIGA - The EUR 140 fine that the Latvian State Language Center has imposed on Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs, the leader of the leftist pro-Russia Harmony party, for using foreign languages - Russian and English - to make posts on behalf of the municipality in social networking sites has taken legal effect.
Raimonds Locmelis, a spokesman for the Riga Regional Court, said that a panel of three judges today made the decision to reject Usakovs' request for an appellate proceeding. Al three judges concurred that there were no legal arguments for starting the appellate proceeding. The decision is final and takes immediate effect.
As reported, Usakovs turned to the regional court in an attempt to get repealed the decision by a court of lower instance which upheld the decision by the State Language Center to fine the Riga mayor for violations of the State Language Law. The lower court ruled that the municipality should be using only the state language in communication with the population also in the social networking sites.
It is the first court ruling in the Latvian judicial system that concerns the communication of municipalities with the local population in the social networking sites.
The deputy director of the State Language Center, Ingrida Berzina, said previously that using Russian in the official communication with Latvia's Russian-speakers was wrong not only as far as the law was concerned. That way, instead of helping them to integrate, we simply create more obstructions to them on their path to integration, she said.