Latvian man sentenced to four years for fighting in Syria

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Riga City Vidzeme District Court on April 27 handed a four-year jail sentence to Martins Grinbergs, 20, for partaking in the Syrian conflict. The prosecution says it will appeal the sentence.

Grinbergs’ defense lawyer Raitis Medins told LETA that his client was acquitted of participation in a criminal organization’s crimes against humanity, peace or a state, or war crimes. The court, however, sentenced Grinbergs to four years in jail for illegal participation in an armed conflict.

The time Grinbergs has already spent in detention will be counted in his jail term. Grinbergs was taken into custody on September 6, 2016. The time Grinbergs spent in a Turkish prison, however, will not be counted in his jail term, the lawyer said.

He said that he will ask the judge to release the motivation behind the ruling as he does not agree that the young man had to be jailed for participation in an armed conflict.

The prosecutor had asked to sentence Grinbergs to 11 years in jail. On April 28 said 

The defendant does not admit his guilt.

The Latvian has been charged with unlawful participation in an armed conflict as well as with joining a criminal group and participating in crimes against humanity or peace, war crimes, or crimes against the state. If convicted on the latter charges, the man faces 10-20 years in jail or even a life sentence.

The prosecutor's office said earlier that the accused had fought on the side of the terrorist group Daesh.

As reported, in summer 2016 the Latvian Security Police obtained information that the Latvian citizen in question has been detained by Turkish authorities. In September Turkey decided to deport the Latvian. After his extradition to Latvia, the person was placed under arrest.

The man's lawyer said earlier that his client denies any participation in armed clashes in Syria.

Previously LTV reported about the young man. He had lived in Broceni town in central Latvia and had joined Islamic militants in Syria after being recruited online.

Upon return to Latvia he was repentant, claiming that Daesh propaganda had tricked him into going to Syria.

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