Latvia will continue to defend the interests of its citizen, Kristīne Misāne, should Denmark extradite her to South Africa, President Egils Levits said after talks with Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and ministers and officials involved in the controversial case including Prosecutor General Eriks Kalnmeiers, Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns, Ombudsman Juris Jansons and others.
The Foreign Ministry should “provide all necessary consular assistance” Levits said and noted that there was a humanitarian aspect to the case as well as strict legal procedure.
As previously reported by LSM, Misāne is wanted in South Africa to face charges of child abduction, document forgery and others. She was arrested by Denmark while in transit at Copenhagen airport in December 2018 for a flight to Mozambique and has been in custody ever since.
She alleges that her former partner, South African citizen Johann Grobler, was abusive towards her and she took two of her children – of which Grobler is father of one – and fled the country with them in defiance of a South African court order.
Grobler has denied the accusations and last week his supporters posted a rebuttal online. Meanwhile Misāne’s supporters have been gathering signatures calling for more action from the authorities.
Commentary about the case on social media has been growing, some of it becoming hysterical, particularly with regard to Denmark’s role in the matter. The case has also featured heavily on radio and TV call-in shows.
Interestingly, it is not the first time Latvia has been involved in a controversial case involving the disputed application of EU rules between EU member states and an extradition request from a third country with a reputation for being weak on human rights in its prison system.
As this legal website recalls , in 2016 an Estonian citizen named Aleksei Petruhhin was held in custody in Latvia and approved by a Latvian court for extradition to non-EU member state Russia – which triggered a legalistic to-and-fro with some echoes of the current situation with Petruhhin’s lawyers arguing that on that occasion Latvia was breaking EU law.