Marat Kasem, editor-in-chief of Sputnik Lithuania, has been detained in Latvia. He is suspected of espionage, as well as violation of EU economic sanctions against Russia. This was reported by Russian state media.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova quickly reacted to the detention, writing that “what happened cannot be qualified otherwise than as inhuman and vile terror of the Latvian regime against any dissent. (...) This is the revenge of dictatorial regimes for his freedom, for his truth, for his adherence to principles.”
In addition, Dmitry Kiselev, head of the Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency, which includes Sputnik Lithuania, commented on the accusation. According to him, Kasem is a citizen of Latvia, although he lives in Moscow. He came to Latvia ostensibly on family matters.
“This is a clear political persecution, absolutely unlawful, absurd and unmotivated,” Kiselev said. “It’s unfortunate that a real person found himself in a difficult situation. It characterizes a regime that has no respect for freedom of speech, which is emerging in this country and which is being established throughout the European Union. This is a very dangerous trend."