Criminal proceedings launched for 38 cases of illegal border crossing

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There are currently 38 criminal proceedings launched regarding the illegal crossing of the border between Latvia-Belarus and Latvia-Russia, State Border Guard spokeswoman Kristīne Pētersone told LETA September 1.

Most criminal proceedings were launched this year, when illegal immigration on the Belarus border picked up. Some criminal proceedings have also been initiated in previous years and continue to be investigated.

In accordance with the law, if a person illegally crosses the State border, the border guard shall initiate criminal proceedings. If a person submits an application for asylum after crossing the border, the investigation shall continue. The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs shall decide on the granting of asylum. If the decision is negative, the border guard shall transfer criminal proceedings to the Prosecutor's Office for the prosecution of a person to criminal liability.

The border guard's observations show that in some cases the Belarusian authorities are forcing individuals to cross the Latvian State border, so the border guard is assessing each case on an individual basis from a criminal-legal point of view, Pētersone said.

Criminal law provides for temporary deprivation of liberty, forced labor, or fines for intentional illegal crossing of the State border. The normal arrangement provides that, after serving a sentence, violators are expelled to their home country.

It was reported that on Tuesday 39 people have been prevented from illegally crossing the country border of Latvia-Belarus.

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