On December 13 this year, the VDD requested the prosecutor's office to prosecute a Latvian citizen for actions aimed at causing national hatred and intolerance, as well as for violating sanctions imposed by the European Union. The individual was not named by the VDD, but according to the LETA newswire he is former Riga City Council member Ruslans Pankratovs, who used to represent the Harmony Center political party.
Pankratovs, born in 1969, was elected to the Riga city council in 2009 and served in the municipality for several years. In 2018, he ran in the 13th Saeima elections on the "For an Alternative" list, and in 2019 he ran in the European Parliament elections on the 'Action Party' list. LETA also reported that in July this year Pankratovs visited parts of Ukraine under temporary Russian occupation.
The criminal proceedings against the unnamed person were initiated on July 29 this year and, in the course of the investigation, VDD obtained information showing that the person had made statements in several information resources used for Russia's aggressive propaganda, which provoked hatred and intolerance against Ukrainians and refugees from Ukraine.
The investigation also revealed that he had provided economic resources to a person on the list of persons against whom the European Union has imposed sanctions for undermining Ukraine's territorial unity, sovereignty, and independence.
Taking into account the circumstances identified in the course of the investigation and a set of evidence obtained, VDD has encouraged the Prosecutor's Office to prosecute the person concerned for actions aimed at inducing national, ethnic, racial, or religious hatred or intolerance, if committed by a group of persons or a public official, or a responsible employee of a company or organization, or using an automated data processing system. Such violation of criminal law shall be punished by deprivation of liberty for a period of up to five years or by temporary deprivation of liberty, by probation supervision, by community service, or a fine.
The VDD has also encouraged the Prosecutor's Office to prosecute the person concerned for violating national sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the European Union, and other international organizations or for violating national sanctions imposed by Latvia. This may be punished by deprivation of liberty for a period of up to four years or by temporary deprivation of liberty, probation supervision, community service, or a fine.
The VDD recalls that all persons are innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the law.