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Ukrainian 'flag attack' case to be reviewed

An appeal in Valērijs Lazarevs' case, or the so-called Ukrainian flag attack case has come to Kurzeme Regional Court that the case should be reopened and viewed again, Latvian Television reported on February 12.

In May 2022, Riga held an event “on getting rid of Soviet heritage,” which the State Police estimated had gathered around 5,000 people. It was later revealed a man, Valērijs Lazarevs, had attacked a young man with a Ukrainian flag on his shoulders after the event. The man was taken into custody but was later released. First Lazarevs was sentenced to only 200 hours of community service, but the case was later reopened.

For attacking the young man with a Ukrainian flag on his shoulders, Lazarevs was convicted last year of a two-year conditional prison sentence with a two-year probation period and an obligation to visit the Probation Service. The victim's lawyer believes there has never been a genuine apology and remorse in or outside the courtroom. Lazarevs' testimonies are also different. The case should therefore be reopened, says the lawyer.

Lazarevs' spouse, a former inspector of the Jūrmala Criminal Police, also stands trial for inaction as an official. She was in the car and the apartment that the special unit later searched for and found Lazarevs.

Egons Rusanovs, an attorney for the sworn law firm Rusanovs and Partners, said: "The court which tried his spouse said in its judgment that Lazarevs had given other evidence than in his trial, where he allegedly regrets his actions and admits his guilt. This means that this position is not fair and open. Those circumstances should therefore, in our view, be examined again by the court of first instance in the context of the retrial. Moreover, when given the final word, Lazarevs essentially denied that he had somehow violated public order. Well, that in itself shows that there has been no admission of guilt."

The regional court may, by decision, revoke the judgment of the court of first instance and send this case for new examination in another composition. It is also possible that a new judgment may be given in the part relating to the penalty or that the court may leave the decision of the court of first instance unchanged.

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