Two more convicted of vote buying

Kuldiga Regional Court on October 30 convicted tow men Artis Berics and Artis Jaunzems of vote buying during the 12th Saeima elections held a year ago.

Whether the two are guilty as widely reported of buying votes in favor of Martins Martinsons, a candidate from the Union of Greens and Farmers, will be clear once the full verdict is released, as Liene Pupola, aide to the Kuldiga Region Court judge, told the LETA news agency.

One of the defendants, Jaunzems pleaded guilty. Berics, however, did not, and his attorney Didzis Vilemsons said that the verdict would be appealed.

The court sentenced Berics to 220 hours of community service and Jaunzems to 120 hours of community service. Full court ruling will be released on November 12, after which it could be appealed within ten days.

Berics' attorney Vilemsons said that the guilty verdict was based on the other defendant's testimony, and that he suspected the entire affair was fabricated to discredit the Greens/Farmers Union.

Martinsons is a member of the Latvian Green Party's board, he was not elected to Saeima, and said he had nothing to do with the vote-buying case.

It is the second case involving alleged vote buying to reach the courts, more than a year after the elections. In a previous case, a man in Vidzeme region was convicted of vote buying in favor of Unity party candidate Dzintars Zakis.

Zakis denied responsibility but resigned from the party while retaining his Saeima mandate.

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