Latvia’s prosecutor general considers closing down scandalous religious organisation’s activities

In response to reports from Latvian State Police regarding breaches of Covid-19 restrictions and waiting for evidence, Latvian Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns may propose shutting down operations of the religious organization New Generation, as confirmed by the prosecutor.
On Thursday, 4 November, Chief of Latvian Sate Police Armands Ruks affirmed in his interview to Spried ar Delfi programme that police and the office of the prosecutor are working on possible solutions when it comes to the aforementioned organization. He said he has spoken with Stukāns, but he said he cannot comment how the prosecutor general may act.
The office of the prosecutor explains that in accordance with Law on Religious Organisations, no person, regardless of their religious views, has the right to ignore laws.
At the same time, the aforementioned law also states that a religious organization can be shut down if its operations are found in breach of the Constitution and other legislative acts. Operations of religious oranisations can also be shut down if it invites members of its community to not follow the law and if its religious teachings put at risk the democratic system, public order and peace, as well as other people’s health and welfare.
In accordance with the law, a plea to the court can be submitted by the prosecutor general. The prosecutor general can also issue a resolution to check if activities of New Generation meet requirements of legislative acts.
The Law on Religious Organisations mentions that in response to a violation by a religious organisation, a court of law may issue a warning without closing down operations.
Stukāns also affirmed that if a religious community commits breach of regulations and if a plea is submitted to the court in response, it is necessary to wait for the police to perform an investigation before a decision can be made.
«We will wait for information from the police, evaluate this information and then consider turning to the court. If the committed violations are the kind we’ve heard of publicly, they put at risk the health of other people and breach epidemiological restrictions,» said the prosecutor general.
Recently Latvian State Police received information about non-compliance with epidemiological restrictions at events organized by religious organisation New Generation.
On 27th and 31st October Zemgale Department police officers performed scheduled inspections at religious organisations in Riga. On 27 October police found about 50 people participating in an event. On 31 October the number of participating people was about 150.
Administrative processes followed in both cases. For a legal person non-compliance with epidemiological restrictions is punishable with a fine of up to EUR 5 000.
The order issued by the Cabinet of Ministers On The Declaration of the State of Emergency provides for keeping religious organisations open for visits by individuals and people from the same household. On top of that, religious organisations are required to provide each visitor at least 15 m2 of available area and ensure religious temples are 20% full at the most.
State Police note that since spring there have been multiple breaches committed by the aforementioned religious organisation.
Police had issued multiple warnings to the representative of the organisation and other important people, asking them to comply with epidemiological restrictions. However, members of this religious organisations failed to comply and continued breaching restrictions.
Multiple administrative disciplinary processes have already reached conclusions.
Police will continue checking this religious organisation’s events and activities.
According to information from, Next Generation’s Riga community is managed by Aleksejs Ļedjajevs, Olga Ļedjajeva and Igors Geskins.
In different publications Ļedjajevs is described as the senior priest or bishop of the New Generation community. He was once an active supporter of Ainārs Šlesers. He has been known to invite members of his community to vote for Šlesers on multiple occasions.