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Latvian court passes suspended sentence on young vandals

March 15, 2012, 23:07 UTC+3

On December 8, 2010, young nationalists desecrated 89 tombstones in New Jewish Cemetery in Riga

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RIGA, March 15 (Itar-Tass) —— The Riga district court on Thursday passed a suspended sentence on three vandals who, in December 2010, desecrated 89 tombstones in New Jewish Cemetery in the Latvian capital, daubing Nazi swastikas in white paint on them.

The local mass media reports that this was done by young skinheads born in 1991, 1994 and 1995, who caught attention of the Latvian Security Police earlier, but it was no later than January 2011 that they were detained. Investigators established that all of them went in for sports, that they did not use either alcohol or narcotics. Two of them are still in school.

One of the vandals, Russian citizen Pavel Voitov, was given the suspended sentence of one year in prison. Also, his parents must pay the compensation of over 3,000 Lat (6,000 dollars) to the injured parties. Another young skinhead, non-citizen in Latvia Vitaly Titov, received the suspended sentence of eight months of the deprivation of freedom, and still other vandal, Latvian citizen Reta Shvedov, is sentenced to 40 hours of compulsory labor.

Karlis Paleps, the lawyer of one of the defendants, told reporters after the hearing that the young vandals pleaded guilty and found the sentence fair.

On December 8, 2010, young nationalists desecrated 89 tombstones in New Jewish Cemetery in Riga, smearing Nazi swastikas in white paint on tombstones and upturning eight monuments. The local self-government authorities ensured that the tombstones were cleared the next day and reinforced the cemetery’s patrolling. The works to recover the damage cost the Riga Duma 300 Lat (some 600 dollars).

Police instituted criminal proceedings on the fact of the cemetery’s desecration. Under Latvia’s criminal law such actions are punishable by the deprivation of freedom for up to ten years and confiscation of property.

This act of vandalism was sharply condemned by Latvia’s president, prime minister and foreign minister, by the mayor of Riga and also by the Russian embassy in Latvia.

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