Riga mayor will go to court over Russian language fine

On March 13 the Riga Regional Court rejected the appeal by Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) over the use of the Russian language on Riga council's official Facebook page, fining him €140. Ušakovs has promised to turn to the Constitutional Court as well as the European Court of Human Rights.

"I have previously abstained and not commented Latvian court decisions. However in this case the decisions by both instances are political, unprofessional and incompetent. The justice system shouldn't have judges who make such decisions. [..] A complaint to the Justice Council is being written now over the quality of the two decisions," said Ušakovs.

"Our lawyers have started making an application to the Constitutional Court. Documents are being prepared for the European Court of Human Rights as well," Ušakovs wrote on Facebook.

"The Riga City Council will continue addressing residents on social networks in Latvian, Russian and English, and other languages if need be. Nothing will change in our approach," he said.

As reported, the State Language Center (VVC) fined Ušakovs over the use of Russian on Facebook.

Previously Ušakovs turned to the regional court to repeal the decision by a court of lower instance which had upheld the fine. The lower court had ruled that the municipality should only use Latvian to talk with the population on social networks.

It is the first court ruling in Latvia concerning municipal communication on social networks.

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