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    FORMER LATVIAN COMMUNIST LEADER CANNOT CLAIM EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTATION

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    RIGA, MARCH 12. (RIA NOVOSTI) -- On Friday the Riga district court has dismissed the action of Alfreds Rubiks, chairman of the Latvian Socialist Party and former first secretary of the central committee of the Communist Party of Latvia, to quash the criminal record before time.

    Rubiks is the first and, so far, the only political prisoner in Latvia after the restoration of independence of that Baltic state. He was arrested in August 1991 and sentenced for eight years on charge of an attempt of forcible overthrowing of the government.

    On November 5, 1997 the Riga district court decided on his parole.

    Upon liberation, Rubiks was elected chairman of the Socialist Party of Latvia. He initiated the formation of the political association For Human Rights in the United Latvia /ZaPCHEL/, made up of the Socialist Party, Popular Accord Party, Equality party.

    At the 2002 parliamentary elections Zapchel won 25 deputy mandates, or a quarter in the Latvian Seim. Zapchel was dissolved last year.

    The present decision of the Riga district court rids Rubiks of the right to stand for election at the June 12 elections to the European Parliament. The Socialist Party of Latvia was expected to approve on March 13 its Rubiks-led list of candidates for the European Parliament.

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