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Tuesday 26.03.2019 | Name days: Eiženija, Ženija
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Court reschedules viewing of criminal case due to Non-citizens Congress leader’s poor health

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RURiga City Vidzeme Suburb Court announced today that the viewing of the criminal case in which leader of Non-citizens Congress Aleksandrs Gapoņenko is accused of inciting national hate will be postponed to a later date.

The break was declared because Gapoņenko’s lawyer Imma Jansone told the court that her client is currently hospitalized because of serious health problems.

An incident occurred during the court hearing when one person in the audience refused to obey the judge when he was told not to film anything without permission. The person mentioned several regulations of the law that, in his interpretation, permitted audiovisual recording of court hearings. He also refused to state his name or present to the court any kind of ID. Security was called in to assist. After security arrived, the man complied and presented his passport to the court. He spent the rest of the hearing in silence.

The next court hearing is scheduled for 21 February 2019.

It is planned to listen to experts during this hearing.

Viewing of the criminal case commenced in October 2017, when the court listened to testimonies from Saeima deputies Einārs Cilinskis and Gaidis Bērziņš. Gapoņenko did not admit his guilt then. He also interviewed both deputies at lengh, focusing of interpretations of different historic events.

Gapoņenko was released from Riga Central Prison in August 2018.

According to the prosecution, the accused published statements on his Facebook page 27 February 2015, knowing full well that their contents incite hate against Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians.

This person also provided a link to Russian news agency Notum’s article «Baltics in fire: from neo-Nazi torch-bearing processions to start of a great war», in which the person had published his opinions about ongoing processes in Baltics.

The person wrote that Baltic States, especially Estonia, are actively preparing their nations for war. «But Baltic elite focus on experience left from pre-war republics that were ruled by ‘soft’ Nazi regimes in the 30s. During the war, the elite of those countries had almost fully ended up under German control, and happily they started exterminating ‘problematic elements’ – Jews, gypsies and Slavic people,» said Gapoņenko.

«It seems they plan to repeat this in the near future. Why else would they organize neo-Nazi torch-bearing processions?! I admit – I’ve not witnessed such a procession in Estonia, and now I never will because I am not allowed to enter this country for ten years because I dared to criticize their policy on ethnic discrimination. In Latvia, however, I’ve had to witness such processions during the 11 November celebration. Around twenty thousand people with torches walked on the streets in the capital city, shouting ‘We are Latvians! Latvia for Latvians’,» said Gapoņenko in his statement.

The accused writes this sight had reminded him of Leni Riefenstahl’s movie ‘Triumph of the Will’ – which was about Nazi government «making zombies out of Germans by filling their heads with great nation ideas before the beginning of WWII».

The prosecutor’s office had previously mentioned that by publishing this kind of article, the person has violated Latvia’s Constitution and European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the freedom of speech.


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