Man acquitted on charge of abusing Russian flag

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Riga City Vidzeme District Court on Tuesday acquitted Dainis Rutenbergs, who had been accused of abusing the flag of the Russian Federation on the streets of Riga last year, his lawyer Aldis Alliks told the LETa news agency Tuesday.

The incident took place in the wake of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, a region of Ukraine.

Pro-Kremlin demonstrators had been waving the flags and chanting slogans in support of the land-grab, which caused Rutenbergs to see red and make a grab for a flag, causing it to be torn.

His client had been incensed by the "obvious parallels" between President Putin's actions in Crimea and those of Stalin in the Baltic states in 1940, Alliks said.

Rutenbergs had acted impulsively, "but constitutionally" in reacting as he did and attacking the flag, claimed Alliks.

Rutenbergs had been charged with deliberate damage or destruction of another person's property and potentially could have faced two years in prison if convicted.

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