to Take Fight for WWII Veteran to European Human Rights Court
(RIA Novosti) – Moscow has qualified the verdict passed in Latvia
on the former Red guerrilla Vassily Kononov as "shameful".
"The Latvian Justice must have decided to celebrate the country’s
admission to the European Union and the anniversary of the end
of the second world war with a gift to local nationalists and
radicals, that is with insulting in public those who fought against
Nazism," says a commentary published on the Russian foreign
ministry’s official site.
"And the fact that Kononov was set free just
in courtroom because he had already served his sentence of one
year and eight months does not change anything in this shameful
verdict," says the Russian foreign ministry.
The Supreme Court of Latvia has found the Russian
citizen Kononov, a former Red guerrilla, "guilty of wartime
crimes", thus canceling the re-qualification of the indictment
made in October 2003 by the previous court, when the afore-mentioned
charge was replaced by "banditry".
"Naturally, the former verdict was also absurd
and humiliating to a veteran soldier who was prosecuted for killing
Lettish collaborators with Nazis in 1944," continues the
foreign ministry. ‘But the court was then compelled to admit that
the accusations of "wartime crimes" against Kononov
were groundless." "We are confident that the actions
of those who persectited Kononov and kept him for months behind
bars on framed-up charges contradicting the fundamental principles
of international law will get a fitting estimation," says
Andrey Kokoshin, the chairman of the State Duma
compatriots liaison committee, has referred to the Latvian court’s
verdict to the former Soviet guerrilla as a political act.
In his opinion, "the Latvian judicial authorities
are preoccupied with the only purpose of substantiating their
measures to deprive almost 35 percent of the Latvian population
of their rights." "This decision is regarded by Russian
MPs as an outright violation of the norms of international law,"
said the Duma committee head, commenting on the Latvian Prosecutor-General’s
Office references to the Nuremberg tribunal’s norms as "fully
absurd and blasphemous." Kokoshin said that the former Soviet
guerrilla and fighter against Nazi occupants, the Russian citizen
Vassily Kononov, would receive from Russia legal, material and
medical aid as well as assistance in his appeal to the European
Human Rights Court.