Two persons detained for allegedly spreading COVID-19 disinformation

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The Latvian State Police have on December 9 detained physician's assistant Marina Kornatovska and activist Valentīns Jeremejevs in connection with alleged distribution of false information about COVID-19, according to information from the LETA newswire.

Gita Gžibovska, State Police (VP) press representative, told LETA that the Cybercrime Division had detained a man and a woman in previously initiated criminal proceedings in connection with the false reports on COVID-19 on Facebook.

False statements are related to threats to public safety and have led to public resonance, have created confusion about legality and are directed against epidemiological security, according to VP.

Criminal proceedings have been initiated following the Article of the Criminal Law on hooliganism. Such an offence may be punished by deprivation of liberty of up to two years, forced labor or fines.

The investigation into criminal proceedings is ongoing and the police do not provide more information in the interest of the investigation, so it is not known whether any security measures will be applied to the persons.

The Law provides that a person may be detained for up to 48 hours and, if necessary, security measures may be applied, the harshest of which is detention. The application of the arrest shall be decided by the court.

Latvian Television reported last week that the “scandalous activist Valentīns Jeremejevs” video was widely noticed on social networks. It summarizes mostly typical conspiracy theories about COVID-19, told by a person who is declared to be a medic and Riga East Clinical University Hospital (RAKUS) employee.

In more than half an hour, Marina Kornatovska, the physician assistant on the video, mostly tells conspiracy theory “classics”  - COVID-19 was invented, the statistics on the infected were fake, hospital congestion was a myth, the vaccines that have not yet been introduced would actually be deadly. She says doctors in the hospital are deliberately harming pneumonia patients.

The hospital has announced publicly that it categorically dissociates from this type of information. In relation to what has happened, an investigation of the service has also been initiated at the medical treatment institution itself in order to assess this particular case.


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