Cablegate: Mlat and Extradition Treaties with Latvia - Update


DE RUEHRA #0310 1231417
P 031417Z MAY 07




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MLAT and Extradition treaties with Latvia - Update

REF: STATE 56255

1. Summary: Though Latvia quickly ratified the Mutual Legal
Assistance Treaty (MLAT), the Extradition Treaty remains before
Parliament for a vote on ratification. Post was informed May 3
that the treaty will be considered by Parliament's Foreign Affairs
Committee on May 11. The Extradition Treaty has gotten attention
from both the far left human rights groups protesting against any
extradition of Latvian nationals and from business groups who are
rumored to be concerned about their own activities in the US. End

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty

2. Signed by Ambassador Bailey and then Minister of Justice Solvita
Abolina in December 2005, the MLAT was ratified by the Latvian
Parliament in early 2006. The Latvians await our action before
instruments of ratification are exchanged.

The Extradition Treaty

3. Also signed by Ambassador Bailey and Minister Abolina at the same
time as the MLAT, the extradition treaty has not been ratified,
though it has been through the first of two readings in the
Parliament. In August of 2006, the Prime Minister assured the
Ambassador that there were no issues with the treaty and that it
would be ratified without exception after the Parliamentary
elections (Held in October 2006). Shortly after the formation of
the new government at the end of 2006, the Parliament voted to
continue to consider the Extradition Treaty as is, rather than
sending it back for another first reading.

4. The treaty has generated some political and press discussion.
The extreme left claim that while there is an article allowing the
sending state to reject extradition if the death penalty is not
removed as a possible punishment, the Latvian government should not
believe that the United States would honor such an agreement and if
a Latvian were to be extradited, the US could still execute the

5. Current Status: Post was informed on May 3 that Parliament's
Foreign Affairs Committee will be reviewing the document on May 11.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice have
both been requested to be present in the committee for the review.
Should it pass review, it will move on to the second, and final,
reading in Parliament, hopefully by the end of May.

6. Post Activities to Date: For the past year, post has maintained
close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry
of Justice on this issue. Post has worked with the department to
provide the MFA and the MOJ talking points, background briefers, and
case studies to aide in their presentations to the committee.
Ambassador Bailey has also included the extradition treaty in her
talking points with various members of the government, the
parliament and other dignitaries.


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