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 Author of petition on Latvia merger with Russia got six months in jail

A Latvian court on Friday sentenced Maksim Koptelov, an ethnic Russian resident, to six months in prison for launching an online petition calling for the country to merge with Russia.

Censor.NET reports referring to LIGA.

Koptelov's lawyer said court's full verdict will be delivered on March 11, and after that it could be appealed, which, she is sure, will be done, as it is a "disgrace for Latvia" and a "bad precedent in the sphere of freedom of speech."

She added that no evidence of unambiguous calling for the elimination of state's independence was presented during the trial. Also, the lawyer does not rule out the court could deliver the verdict based on the public sentiment.

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A petition on Latvia merger with the Russian Federation was launched in the spring of 2014, and its author was arrested in February 2015. The prosecution charged him with calling for an end to Latvian independence and its merger with other state. The crime is punishable by up to three years in prison, forced labor, or a fine.

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The security police concluded that Koptelov is fully aware of the consequences of his actions, while the text of the petition is qualified as a public call for the elimination of country's independence.
   
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