Mayor of Riga loses libel case against magazine over “kleptocrat” remark

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3 Mar 2014

In court, Usakovs had argued that the term “kleptocracy” was to be taken literally and that IR had called him a thief. He demanded damages and an unreserved apology. The judge disagreed, ruling that the term was to be understood as a comment on the broader state of affairs in Riga city politics.

The use of libel laws to stifle critical reporting in Latvia is on the rise. Three further cases have been brought against IR in 2013, including one by a pro-life movement which has been referred to as "a claim filed with a medieval court of inquisition". MLDI has provided support to IR for the defence of all three.