Criminal case launched against terrorism supporters

Take note – story published 9 years ago

The Security Police (DP) have begun a criminal investigation into the actions of three residents of Latvia who have traveled to eastern Ukraine and posted videos of their volunteer armed service with pro-Russian separatists there, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told the media after the Cabinet meeting Tuesday.

In the videos the three individual protagonists exhort other volunteers to join them in these fighting units among separatists in the Donbass region.

Latvia’s Criminal Law qualifies such activities under the definition of terrorism, providing for criminal liability. The charges also include the acquisition and keeping of illegal arms.

The DP urges all residents of Latvia to give notice at telephone hotlines or in person if they have information about anyone who has traveled to the conflict region with the intention of joining the fighting, or has expressed the desire to do so, as well as persons disseminating invitations to join the illegal armed groups involved in the fighting. The DP guarantees all confidentiality of sources.

The DP is also looking closely at donation-collecting organizations claiming to have humanitarian goals in aiding eastern Ukraine’s civilian refugees, however could come afoul of prohibitions on financing terrorist organizations if these goals are found to have been dishonest.

Meanwhile, Ludza secondary school teachers remember the men in question as mediocre students who were always in good physical shape, having graduated more than ten years ago. However they expressed shock and dismay at their choice to join the pro-Russian fighters and invoke the name of their hometown in urging others to do the same.

The high school teachers told Latvian Television news program Panorāma Monday that their former pupils hadn’t changed much at all.

“They’ve moved away from their hometown so long ago, for them to claim to belong here is just shameless, we’re in shock,” said the headmistress of Ludza’s 2nd Secondary School, from which the volunteer mercenaries graduated in 2001.

Most local residents were aware that the men had joined the National Bolshevik political organization. Their former teachers noted that “they have always been drawn to the wrong crowd.”


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