Latvian FM: Lukashenka regime’s request for extraditing Tsapkala must be turned down

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics is set to reject the Belarusian authorities’ request for the extradition of former presidential wannabe Valery Tsapkala.

“I consider the Lukashenka regime’s request for the extradition of Belarusian opposition politician Valery Tsapkala as an open attempt to [have revenge upon him]; the demand must be turned down. In accordance with Latvian law, the decision is made by relevant law enforcement agencies, they assess all aspects of the case,” Rinkevics said on Twitter.

On February 8, state-run TV station Belarus 1 reported that the Investigative Committee had sent the necessary documents to the Prosecutor General’s Office so that the Belarusian side could seek the extradition of Tsapkala. According to the report, he is accused of committing corruption crimes and receiving bribes on a particularly large scale. In turn, Aiga Eiduka, Spokeswoman of the Latvian Prosecutor General’s Office, said that they had not yet received such request from Belarus.

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On June 29, the Belarusian Interior Ministry launched a probe into ‘illegal activities’ in which Valery Tsapkala, a founder of the Belarusian Hi Tech park, former diplomat and would-be presidential nominee, was allegedly involved. A day later, the Central Election Commission announced that Valery Tsapkala had not collected the necessary number of signatures to become a presidential candidate. The commission approved only 75,000 out of 160,000 signatures and said that Tsapkala would no longer take part in the presidential race. In turn, Tsapkala wrote on his Twitter that he had no intention to give up and would fight for each signature.

In late July, the participant in the 2020 election campaign took his two sons and left Belarus for Moscow. According to the family, ‘credible sources’ provided them with information that the authorities were going to use a far-fetched pretext and detain Valery. Moreover, they were allegedly about to deprive the couple of parental rights. His wife Veranika Tsapkala, a member of the united headquarters during the election campaign of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, left for Moscow ‘for security reasons’ on the election day, August 9.

At the moment, the Tsapkalas are staying in Latvia.

Earlier, Mikhail Vavula, Head of the international legal department of the Investigative Committee, told state media that the committee had sent documents for the extradition of Stsyapan Putsila and Raman Pratasevich, the two bloggers linked to NEXTA groups on the web, to Poland through the Prosecutor General.

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