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Latvian police detain prominent human rights activist

May 26, 2015, 18:21 UTC+3 RIGA

Co-chairman of the Latvian Non-Citizens Congress Alexander Gaponenko is a well-known defender of the rights of the local Russian-speaking population

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Latvian police officers (archive)

Latvian police officers (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Timur Subkhankulov

RIGA, May 26. /TASS/. Latvia’s Security Police have detained on Tuesday well-known human rights activist, co-chairman of the Latvian Non-Citizens Congress Alexander Gaponenko, journalist Yury Alexeyev has said.

"Today at around 10:00 prominent Latvian human rights activist, professor of the Baltic International Academy Alexander Gaponenko was detained at the entrance to his house. The police searched his apartment and confiscated all computer and communications equipment. The search later continued at the professor’s country house," local media outlets quote Alexeyev as saying.

"Gaponenko’s wife said he had been detained under the criminal case on the charges of "inciting ethnic discord with the use of computer equipment." At the time of his detention Gaponenko was heading for the Riga airport. He was going to fly to Moscow to take part in the festival of documentary films," Alexeyev noted.

At the moment Gaponenko cannot be contacted. The Latvian Security Police declined to comment on his detention.

This is not the first time Gaponenko was detained. The prominent human rights activists was detained last November at the Riga international airport after returning from Moscow and was released shortly after that. In February he was detained by the security police in neighboring Estonia and was subsequently deported to Latvia.

Gaponenko is a well-known defender of the rights of the local Russian-speaking population and non-citizens residing there. He was also one of the organizers of the national referendum in February 2012 on granting Russian a status of a second official language in Latvia. Most citizens of the republic did not support the initiative.

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