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    WWII veteran Kononov calls 30,000 euro compensation 'mockery'

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    World War II veteran Vasily Kononov said Monday the 30,000 euros ($47,000) the Strasbourg court ordered Latvia to pay him as compensation for being held in custody was "a mockery".

    MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - World War II veteran Vasily Kononov said Monday the 30,000 euros ($47,000) the Strasbourg court ordered Latvia to pay him as compensation for being held in custody was "a mockery".

    Kononov had originally demanded 5 million euros ($7.8 million) in compensation for being illegally held in custody by Latvia on charges of war crimes.

    "The sum to be compensated in moral damages is a mockery. Latvia was able, through its representative and the judge from Latvia, to move to its side the judges from Sweden and Iceland," Kononov told a press conference in Moscow.

    He said the sum should be at least several hundred thousand euros.

    The European Court of Human Rights made the ruling in favor of Kononov on June 19, but it was only announced in full last week. The court rejected Kononov's other demands, which included moral damages and compensation for the apartment and plot of land he had been forced to sell in order to pay court expenses and for medical treatment.

    Kononov, who led a group of resistance fighters against Nazi Germany in the Baltic state during WWII, was convicted by Latvian authorities of ordering the killing of nine villagers in 1944, with some reports saying the dead included a pregnant woman.

    He admitted to the killings, but said the dead were Nazi collaborators who were caught in the crossfire. Latvia was under German occupation at the time of the incident.

    A retired police colonel born in Latvia, Kononov was arrested in 1998 and sentenced to six years in prison in 2000 on genocide charges. In 2004, after several years of litigation, his sentence was cut to 20 months and the charges changed to "war crimes." Kononov filed an appeal with the Strasbourg court the same year.

    Russia subsequently applied pressure on Latvian and European authorities over the case and in April 2004 Kononov was granted Russian citizenship by then-President Vladimir Putin.

    In 2007, the European court dismissed all charges against Kononov, and ruled he was not guilty. "This is my final victory, one I have been seeking for eight long years," he said then.

    While Russia maintains that the Red Army liberated the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia from German invaders, many Latvians and Estonians put the two "occupations" on a par.

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