Sputnik Lithuania editor-in-chief flees Latvia after trial

Kremlin-controlled Sputnik Lithuania editor-in-chief, Latvian citizen Marats Kasems, has left the country, as confirmed by Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press-secretary Marija Zakharova.
“Fearing possible restart of criminal prosecution, Marats Kasems has left this country,” Zakharova mentioned in an interview to Russian Radio Sputnik.

She did not say when Kasems arrived in Russia, writes the Riga-based Meduza news website.

Current Time television channel reports that Kasems’ Facebook page indicates he is currently in Britain.
Recently Latvian prosecution office fined Kasems EUR 15 500 for providing aid to Russia in various anti-Latvian activities. He admitted his guilt and paid the fine. He was not presented with any restrictions on leaving the country.

On Wednesday, the 26th of July, Latvian authorities confirmed there are no new cases in the works involving this person.

Kasems was previously detained as part of a criminal process regarding possible violations of EU sanctions. The case against him was later qualified as provision of aid to a hostile country in actions aimed against Latvia.
Between 2017 and November 2022 the Latvian citizen in question was providing intellectual and physical aid to the Russian Federation.
The accused said that one of Russia’s objectives is enhancing and expanding influence in Baltic and other European countries. This includes attacking Latvia’s national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, state power, government structure and national security as a whole.
The accused fully admitted his guilt.
There was a public discussion regarding the adequacy of the penalty. Latvia’s President Edgars Rinkēvičs commented about this case by saying that “recent decisions from the prosecution office raise certain questions”. The Judicial Council announced afterwards that it will assess the penalty policy for corruption and national security-related cases.
Also read: Prosecution office refrains from detailed comments about penalty applied to Russian propagandist