Finger-pointing among authorities in Jēkabpils murder case

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Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns criticizes the lawyer of the woman stalked and killed in Jēkabpils, meanwhile, the lawyer is surprised by the accusations and calls them repugnant. The lawyers' council is asking for an investigation into Stukāns' actions, Latvian Radio and Latvian Television reported on June 8.

The woman who was killed in Jēkabpils after years-long persecution by her former partner had lost her hopes for police assistance and personally addressed Prosecutor General Stukāns with an application, expressing in clear terms her fears about her life. She received only a formal answer. In an interview with the journal “Ieva”, the Prosecutor General acknowledged that he had not read the application himself. 

Stukāns said that the woman's lawyer Anna Nore had not done everything she could to provide quality assistance.  In the interview, he stated that the lawyer should have come to his office; he would have received her, listened, and reacted swiftly. 

Meanwhile, Anna Nore has been surprised by Stukāns' statements and called them an unjustified undermining of reputation.

"You know, I'm embarrassed and outraged by such a statement that the lawyer simply goes to the prosecutor general to talk to them. I didn't know such practices in Latvia, and I thought it was a completely wrong practice. The fact that the Prosecutor General, as I understand, has said in this interview that the lawyer has done her job poorly, then I believe it is the undermining of the lawyer's reputation in front of the whole society," Nore said.

The lawyer said she had prepared and sent a submission to the prosecutor's office on September 15 last year, which had been a cry of desperation for real risks of life, and asked for state protection.

“On September 20, a written response was received from Zemgale Court District Prosecutor Butlers that your application to the Prosecutor's Office was received and that it would be added to another criminal case for the violent actions taken against my client, and that any additional safeguards we are asking would not be applied. There is this decision on temporary protection, and the prosecutor has found it sufficient. That was the responsibility. And I had also gone personally to talk to this prosecutor Butlers," the lawyer said.

The next President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs has condemned Stukāns' remarks. Such attempts to shift blame to the victim or her lawyers for the state's failure to do so are unacceptable, the next president of the country wrote on his Twitter profile, stating that the tragedy in Jēkabpils is the negligence and responsibility of many state institutions.

“The public expects the cosuntry to be both legal and fair. And from that point of view, such attempts to say - no, there was still a submission you could write or another article for punishment - are not  we would expect from the judiciary,” said Rinkēvičs.

Stukāns said at a press conference on Thursday, June 8, that he didn't intend to resign and said he hadn't wanted to blame the lawyer and that the remark in the interview had been a "call for cooperation". He said did not justify the prosecution's alleged inaction in this case, which is currently under internal investigation. 

According to the Law on the Prosecutor General, if the Prosecutor General has allowed disgraceful action, his dismissal from office in the Saeima may be proposed. The head of the Saeima Legal Affairs Committee Andrejs Judins (New Unity) assessed Stukāns' statements as incorrect.

Judins said that a separate meeting is not currently planned regarding the statements made by the Prosecutor General or regarding his or her position.

Next week, however, the deputies will meet him at an unrelated meeting of the committee, and Judins is convinced that he will be asked about it.

The Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates, calling it a disgrace not only to the Prosecutor General, but to the entire prosecutor's office, has asked the Board of Justice to evaluate the case. While the alleged killer Leons Rusiņš has not been found by the police for nearly two months, it is unacceptable that the parties involved in the case attempt to point fingers.

The Justice Board is scheduled to see the request by the Board of Advocates on June 16.

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