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Latvia strips legal immunity from MP accused of spying for Russia

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By Reuters

By Andrius Sytas

– Latvia’s parliament voted to strip an opposition MP of immunity from prosecution on Thursday after he was accused of spying for Russia, without specifying details of the charges against him.

Sixty-nine members of the 100-seat parliament voted to grant prosecutors the right to charge, question, search or arrest Janis Adamsons, from the left-leaning, pro-Russia Harmony party, in an investigation of spying for a foreign country.

Adamsons told parliament before the vote he had not been informed of the prosecutor’s suspicions.

“Honestly, I don’t feel I have sinned,” he said.

Once part of the Soviet Union but now a member of both NATO and the European Union, Latvia is seen by many as a bulwark against Russia in an increasingly hostile relationship between the West and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian speakers make up a bit more than a third of the population.

A coalition of five small parties barred Harmony from forming a government in 2018, despite its general election victory in the country of 1.9 million.

The chair of the National Security Committee, Maris Kucinskis, told Reuters prosecutors had outlined to parliamentarians, at a behind-closed-doors meeting on Thursday, their suspicions about Adamsons, describing him as spying for Russia.

“The prosecutors presented serious grounds to launch the investigation”, Kucinskis added.

Latvia’s General Prosecutor’s office declined to comment.