There isn’t a single law in Latvia that lets Saeima deputies break the law with impunity, says police chief

In Latvia, there isn’t a single law or regulation that lets members of the parliament break the law with impunity, said Chief of Latvian State Police Armands Ruks, commenting on the detainment of Saeima deputy Aldis Gobzems.
Commenting on the discussions as to whether or not Gobzems’ detainment breaches Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, which states that Saeima members cannot be arrested, searches cannot be performed at their home and that no other restrictive measures are allowed to be performed without Saeima’s permission, Ruks said Gobzems was not arrested – he was detained for a short while for an administrative violation.
«This will always remain a topic for discussion. However, there are no regulations that allow Saeima deputies break the law with impunity or, in this case, ignore requests from police officers to stop committing an administrative offence,» said the Chief of State Police.
Gobzems’ promoted political events were not coordinated officially. This is why police officers addressed the Saeima deputy directly and asked him to cease unlawful activities, which he refused to do.
Gobzems resisted the police, which is an administrative violation, Ruks explained.
«I believe Saeima deputies should serve as an example to the rest of society. They should obey the law. What are we supposed to do when someone breaks the law? Do we allow full freedom of action? Definitely not. That would be illogical. If you are a parliamentary deputy, you are allowed as much freedom as the average Latvian resident. Can you imagine a situation if a Saeima deputy was caught drunk driving and then refused an alcohol test? Police would have to detain this deputy if this happened – there would not be any time to wait for a decision from the Saeima,» Ruks explained.
Ruks said measures from police officers did not impede Gobzems’s work as a member of the Saeima. The sole purpose of his short detainment was preventing a large number of people from crowding in the same area during a state of emergency, considering the existing epidemiological risks.
When asked why Gobzems wasn’t detained in Talsi as well, Ruks said the gathering there was organised and coordinated with the local administration. As for crowds, however, the number of people who came to meet with Gobzems was not enough to classify it as a crowd. Nevertheless, police will look into the Talsi episode for possible signs of administrative violation.
The chief of police said the law can be interpreted, but he nevertheless believes police officers who were at the site acted accordingly and appropriately to the situation.
Ruks said he will inform the Saeima of the administrative violation procedures that have been started over Gobzems’ actions. The parliament will then be able to make decisions on how to move forward after this.
Ruks reminds that anyone who believes police acted inappropriately has the right to turn to the court.
As previously reported, on Monday, 6 December, Aldis Gobzems was briefly detained by the police in Tukums.
More on this topic here: VIDEO | police in Tukums detain scandalous Latvian politician
After his release, Gobzems announced on social media that he intends to demand «dismissal of all Tukums cops» for «gross violation of the law». He also wants the removal of Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva and Chief of Latvian State Police Armands Ruks for «unlawful actions» taken against the Saeima deputy.
In spite of the incident in Tukums, Gobzems decided to travel further – to Talsi. It is there he had previously announced a meeting with residents. If he ends up detained in Talsi, he said he will go to Ventspils, Lieapaja and other cities.
Several dozen people met with him in Talsi, according to a video posted on social media.