23:44 GMT25 January 2020
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    A Latvian citizen, who published a petition online, which was calling for Latvia becoming part of Russia, while the bottom line of the post read that it should be treated as a joke and sentenced for it to six months in prison, appealed the verdict, according to his lawyer.

    RIGA (Sputnik) — A Latvian citizen, who had been sentenced in Riga for an online post calling for Latvia to join Russia, appealed the verdict on Monday, his lawyer Ilona Bulgakova said.

    In 2014, Maxim Koptelov published a petition online, which was calling for Latvia becoming part of Russia, while the bottom line of the post read that it should be treated as a joke. In February, 2015, he was arrested over the issue.

    Latvian Security Police (DP), which investigated the case, came to a conclusion that the suspect was fully aware of the consequences of his actions, and the text of the petition was qualified as a public call for the liquidation of the state independence, while Koptelov was sentenced to six months in prison.

    "This sentence is extremely harsh. Let's see what the motives of the court are. It is a very bad precedent among the freedom of expression [cases]," Bulgakova said.

    She stated that the court could have been biased due to the anti-Russia sentiment.

    Previously, Bulgakova anticipated that her client could appeal the verdict, as it was "a disgrace for Latvia."

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    sentence, Maxim Koptelov, Ilona Bulgakova, Latvia
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