No presidential pardon for 2009 rioter

Take note – story published 6 years ago

There is to be no presidential pardon for Ansis Ataols Bērziņš, recently extradited from the Czech Republic to Latvia, as a result of his conviction on charges of rioting in 2009.

State President Raimonds Vējonis gave the news March 28, which will disappoint supporters of Bērziņš who had mounted a high profile campaign arguing in favor of a pardon and who argued he had not been given a fair trial.

A pardon for Bērziņš would be unfair on others convicted for offences committed during the unrest, who have already served their sentences, Vējonis said after a meeting with Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.

Additionally the president said that initially Bērziņš had not been sentenced to prison but to a suspended sentence, but that by failing to comply with Probation Service requirements by skipping the country he had inevitably made things worse for himself.

Berzins was convicted of participating in mass disturbances in Rīga on January 13, 2009 when a rally against the government of Aigars Kalvitis descended into disorder.

Bērziņš is currently in the Central Prison of Riga, where he hoped for a pardon, as was recently given to Ilmārs Poikans, a whistleblower who released tax data of high-profile individuals to expose hypocrisy in high places.

Poikans was dragged through the court for years, with now-defunct bank ABLV behind the prosecution. After conviction and sentencing to community service, Poikans was pardoned by Vējonis in December last year. 

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