Ušakovs acquitted of using unauthorized video camera

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Riga City Court on Wednesday, December 21, acquitted Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) in the first instance of secretly storing an unauthorized video surveillance device at a time when he was mayor of Rīga, LETA and Latvian Radio reported.

The prosecutor's office will still have the opportunity to file an appeal against the verdict. In that case, the case will have to be reviewed by the District Court of Riga.

Ušakovs had previously argued that this criminal case was needed only to publicly undermine the politician's reputation by trying to make him a criminal.

On Wednesday, following the court's ruling, Ušakovs said: “We are a legal state. I am really pleased that a highly politicized process where it appeared to be looking like an order[ed crime] has resulted thus.”

Prosecutor Juris Ločmelis stated: “Obviously, it will be necessary to ask for a full verdict. I will then assess the arguments of the court and whether it is necessary to appeal the ruling. I can't say anything more."

At the end of last year, the Prosecutor's Office indicted Ušakovs under an article of the Criminal Law on violation of the prohibition on the use of equipment, devices, or instruments specifically created or adapted for the operational measures to be performed - in simpler language, keeping a hidden video recorder in his mayor's office.

In January 2019, anti-graft force KNAB removed a device from Ušakovs' office in Riga City Council. In October 2020 KNAB asked the Prosecutor General's Office to charge the former mayor of Riga with storing the banned video surveillance device. Ušakovs maintained his innocence.

Last November, the European Parliament revoked Ušakovs' immunity in order for the trial to go ahead. 

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