Rinkēvičs: penalties in national security offenses too mild

A Latvian citizen who has been found guilty of providing illegal intellectual and physical support to Russia has got a relatively mild sentence – a fine of EUR 15,500. President Edgars Rinkēvičs has requested the prosecutor an explanation of this, Latvian Television reported July 14.

According to the information held by Latvian Television, the accused is a pro-Kremlin activist, the editor of the Russian media “Sputnik Lithuania” Marats Kasems.

The President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs, who has asked the prosecutor's office for information and plans to discuss the case in a meeting with Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns, has also expressed confusion about such a gentle punishment.

The investigation showed that Kasems provided intellectual and physical support to Russia from 2017 to November 2022.

According to the statement of the Prosecutor General's Office regarding the punishment, he has been found guilty and fined for helping a foreign state in an action directed against Latvia.

The defendant has admitted his guilt.

In view of this and the fact that the accused had been in custody for almost four months during the investigation, he was fined EUR 15,500. Kasems was detained early this year.

On Friday morning, Rinkēvičs said in an interview with Latvian Television that the penalties applied in matters of national security are too mild, and the prosecutor's office is currently working poorly.

“We have a hybrid war. In matters of national security, the judgments are now too mild, the law also provides for harsher punishments," the president said.

Rinkēvičs criticized the fact that the prosecutor's office explained its decisions poorly – it is not enough to list articles of law.

“The disappointing thing is that the prosecutor's office doesn't explain its decisions to the end. The other thing – these punishments are also unsatisfactory,” said Rinkēvičs.

The president plans to discuss these issues with Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns next week.

"The way the prosecutor's office is working is not too satisfying for me. This is the first time I am quite critical [..] If I can help, I'll help, but the prosecutor's office has to come together," Rinkēvičs said.

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