Latvian Defense Minister wades into Danish-South African extradition row

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With the Latvian Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry already deeply involved in negotiations with Denmark over the controversial extradition of a Latvian citizen to South Africa, a minister without any obvious brief to get involved in extradition cases has also charged into the fray.

Defense Minister Artis Pabriks has published an open letter "to politicians and the public in the Kingdom of Denmark on the case of Kristīne Misāne" in which he says

"I have always considered the Nordic countries to be our role model and a landmark for what we want to see in Latvia... Unfortunately, the example of Kristīne Misāne demonstrates the opposite and separates illusions from reality."

Describing the Republic of South Africa as "a Third World Country" with "numerous human rights violations at international level" and a prison system with "conditions that are incompatible with human dignity," Pabriks says he was asked to help with the situation by relatives of Misāne earlier this year.

Misāne has been in custody in Denmark since December 2018.




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"At that time I was convinced that the Kingdom of Denmark would certainly hear our request. For a moment I had no doubt that a country where I had spent a significant 5 years of my life would not turn away from a woman who was in a helpless situation while protecting herself and her children. Fleeing an abuser, seeking refuge in the European Union, not knowing that one of the oldest countries in the European Union would turn her back," Pabriks writes.

"I am shocked by the attitude of the officials of the Kingdom of Denmark - ignoring the notes submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, not responding to the letters and requests of the Latvian Embassy in Denmark,"' he adds.

The Defense Minister finishes in an even more critical tone, alleging an arrogant attitude and that economic interests are at play in the legal case: 

"It must be concluded with great bitterness that everything is not perfect in a country as advanced and ordered as the Kingdom of Denmark. In the present case, economic interests prevail over the individual."

"It is painful to conclude that the arrogant attitude of the Kingdom of Denmark towards Latvia, which has recently joined the European Club of Free Nations, suggests an "us and them" attitude. It is painful to conclude that Denmark, which I considered to be my second homeland during my studies, is now forgetting the values ​​of democracy, the rule of law and human rights that it itself taught me," Pabriks concludes.


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