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Ceturtdiena 20.02.2020 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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Latvia to request Russia to hand over detained National-Bolshevik Beness Aijo

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Beness Aijo, Eastern Ukraine, criminal process, detainment, Russia, Donbass, National Bolshevik

Beness Aijo

Latvian office of the prosecutor will ask Russia to hand over the recently detained National Bolshevik Beness Aijo, who had fled Latvia several years ago to join Moscow-supported militants in Eastern Ukraine.

Senior prosecutor of the Office of the Prosecutor General International Coordination Office Una Brenča has confirmed through press-representative Una Rēķe that Latvia will request Beness Aijo to be handed over to Latvia. Until then, however, a request for a temporary arrest has been submitted to Russian authorities.

Latvian State Security Service (VDD) has confirmed that the institution is aware of the aforementioned person’s detainment in Russia.

VDD reminds that in July 2019 the service had asked Riga court district prosecutor to commence criminal prosecution of the aforementioned person for participating in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

The service notes that only the institution that heads the criminal process – the office of the prosecutor – has the right to request the person’s extradition to Latvia.

As previously reported, in February 2015 Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court declared Aijo wanted in a criminal case in which he is accused of publicly calling for a violent overthrowing of Latvia’s government. Aijo was supposed to stand on trial but he fled the country and announced leaving for the self-proclaimed Republic of Luhansk to join the republic’s militia in Donbass, where he has since participated in combat operations.

Amendments to the Criminal Law, prohibiting participation in armed conflicts in foreign conflicts came to force on 19 February 2015. In relation to these amendments VDD commenced a new criminal process against Aijo Beness.

VDD investigator’s decision on finding Aijo a suspect mentioned that the 1970-born Aijo Beness, while not a soldier of Latvian National Armed Forces, is located in Eastern Ukraine, where, as a member of an illegally put together armed group, uses firearms and other specialized military equipment in military operations, attacking Ukrainian state forces. Such behaviour breaches Latvia’s binding international rights, VDD stresses.

The aforementioned is proven by Aijo Beness’ speeches, photos and media publications posted on the internet. TV3 documentary «Exporters of revolution» shows an interview with Aijo Beness, which also confirms authorities’ suspicions about him.

The punishment for aforementioned criminal acts, as stated in Latvia’s Criminal Law, is deprivation of freedom for up to ten years.

This week it became known that Aijo Beness was detained by Russian authorities in Arkhangelsk Oblast. Regnum reported with reference to Communist Party representative Dmitry Sarayev that Aijo Beness was detained in Yarensk village, where he had intended to support environment activists opposing creation of a waste landfill nearby.

Sarayev claims Russian authorities have detained Aijo Beness following a request from Ukraine, adding that the man may face extradition to Kyiv.

VDD has several criminal processes launched for multiple Latvian residents who had left for Eastern Ukraine after Crimea’s annexation. Most of them are now wanted, but two have already stood on trial. One of them – Artjoms Skripņiks – was sentenced to five years in prison for taking part in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.


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