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Arrest of Sputnik Editor Kasem Signals Latvia's Turn to Police State - Foreign Ministry

© Sputnik / Nina ZotinaMarat Kasem
Marat Kasem - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.02.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The arrest of Sputnik Lithuania editor Marat Kasem shows that Latvia is transforming into a police state, where opinions that do not coincide with those of the state are suppressed through fabricated legal processes, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
"In the Baltic states, including Latvia, we are now witnessing the actual formation of a police state, where any opinion that does not coincide with the official line is suppressed very harshly, including through trumped-up processes, through criminal prosecution, police measures and so on," Sergey Belyaev, a senior diplomat at the Russian foreign ministry, told the RTVI broadcaster.
"This in itself speaks about the nature of [their] society and the tension that exists within society."
Belyaev noted that there was no direct contact with Kasem, but the jailed journalist was communicating with his lawyer.
"The fact of the matter is that Kasem feels bad, he is developing health problems, they [Latvia] delay medical care, they do not provide him with the right medicine. This is... torture, when pain is deliberately inflicted on a person," Belyaev added.
According to the Russian diplomat, the question of Kasem's release is not discussed with Latvian counterparts, because contacts between Moscow and Riga "have been reduced to a minimum."
Earlier in February, Kasem's lawyer said the editor was in a critical condition and needed medical help. The lawyer also noted that the conditions of the journalist's imprisonment could be regarded as torture.
Sputnik  - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.01.2023
Moscow Calls Latvia's Detention of Sputnik Lithuania Editor a Violation of International Obligations
Kasem, a Latvian national working at the Sputnik Lithuania editorial desk of Moscow-based international media group Rossiya Segodnya, was detained during a trip to the Latvian capital on January 3 and sent to Riga Central Prison two days later, having been accused of violating EU sanctions against Russia as well as of espionage, an offense punished by up to 20 years in prison.
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