De Facto

«Rīgas satiksmes» jaunie laiki: gandrīz pieņemts Kavacs un Liepnieka lekcijas

De Facto

Valdošā koalīcija nobriedusi izbeigt mikrouzņēmumu nodokļu režīmu

Vai Latvija novēlojusi cīņu par savu pilsoni?

Latvian mother faces extradition from Denmark to South Africa

A Latvian mother is facing the prospect of extradition to South Africa from Denmark to face trial after fleeing with her children, prompting questions to be asked by LTV's De Facto investigative show about whether Latvia has done enough to represent its citizen in a complex international legal wrangle.

Kristīne Misāne formerly had a South African partner with whom she had one of her two children. They became estranged and most of the time the children lived with her in Mozambique, though the father still had right of access to his child on a regular basis. However, Misāne alleges that her former partner was violent and that, fearing for the safety of herself and her children, she fled with them to Latvia in May 2018. 

In doing so she violated the terms of her husband's right to see one of her two children and opened herself up to charges of child abduction, document forgery and fraud.  

In December 2018 she booked a flight from Rīga to Mozambique, which borders South Africa, where she had been running a business for some years - a Kristine Misane is listed online as owner-operator of a "full service business law firm" in the country - but was detained in transit at Copenhagen airport as the South African authorities had put her on their international wanted list. She has been detained in Denmark ever since with South Africa asking for her extradition to face trial. 

Meanwhile the children are being cared for by Kristine's sister in Latvia, who spoke to De Facto anonymously, saying she had fears both about the harshness of the South African prison system and about whether Kristīne would ever see her children again.

According to De Facto there was an opportunity at the start of 2019 for Kristine to return to Latvia from Denmark after the Danish authorities wrote a letter asking if Latvia intended to pursue a criminal case of its own, which would have opened the way for Kristine to be sent home for potential trial, taking precedence over the South African extradition request. However, the Prosecutor General's office replied in the negative, as under Latvian law the alleged offences would not warrant a jail term of a year or more, required for an extradition order.

That decision left no barrier to South Africa's extradition request to Denmark.

But in November 2019 the Latvian Prosecutor General's office wrote to its Danish equivalent asking it "to urgently consider the request to defer the extradition to the Republic of South Africa of the citizen of the Republic of Latvia Kristīne Misāne... having additionally coinsidered whether... her human rights will be respected in the Republic of South Africa."

The letter - shown on screen - adds that the request follows information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that "serious violations of human rights in the Republic of South Africa that would significantly endanger the citizen of the Republic of Latvia". 

Around the same time the Latvian Justice Ministry also wrote to the Danish side expressing "deep concern" about the planned extradition and asking that it be be put on hold at least until a decison was fortcoming from the European Court of Human Rights, to which an application was made by Kristīne Misāne's lawyers. 

The Justice Ministry letter also records that on October 30, 2019, Latvia's ambassador to Denmark delivered a note to the Danish Foreign Ministry with a request not to extradite Misāne to South Africa.

The various Danish representatives involved in the case told De Facto they could not comment on individual legal cases. The De Facto report did not contain any comment from the South African authorities.

Latvian Foreign Ministry press secretary Jānis Beķeris told De Facto: "This is not a simple situation. We will continue with our work, providing consular support to our citizen if necessary also in South Africa."

Speaking via Skype from Denmark, a tearful Kristīne Misāne said she feared the South African prison system and suggested she might face being held there for years while an investigation was conducted, even before facing a sentence of up to 15 years if convicted. 

"I've always been a loving and responsible mother. A Latvian citizen. I was fleeing from violence. I feared for my children's safety and welfare. I know I have broken the law and must answer for it," she said, adding: ""Let me pay the necessary penalty in Latvia... where I can see my children."

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Crime
Society