The European Court of Human Rights will announce on May 17 its verdict on the former Soviet partisan case involving a WWII veteran accused of killing villagers during the war, defense lawyer Mikhail Ioffe said on Tuesday.
Vasily 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. He admitted to the killings, but said the dead were Nazi collaborators who were caught in crossfire.
Media reports earlier stated Kononov had lost the case against Latvia citing a source in the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights.
"This is a lie and libel. Someone wants to turn a wish into reality," Ioffe said, adding that the [court] decision would be announced on May 17.
Kononov was arrested in 1998 and held for two years in custody, but Latvia's charges against him were overturned by the European Court of Human Rights in 2008.
In 2004, he appealed to the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights. The European Court in 2008 decided Latvian authorities violated the European Convention on Human Rights prescribing that "no person may be punished for an act that was not a criminal offense at the time of its commission". The Strasbourg Court ordered 30,000 euros in compensation to the former partisan.
After his release, Kononov received Russian citizenship.
WWII continues to be a contentious issue in Russia's relations with both Estonia and Latvia over the Baltic states' perceived glorification of Nazi collaborators and their perception of Russia being an occupying country after the war.
RIGA, April 27 (RIA Novosti)