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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 05.07.2022, 06:47

Hacker Neo requests pardon from Latvian president

BC, Riga, 20.11.2017.Print version
Latvia's whistle-blowing hacker Ilmars Poikans aka Neo has sent a letter to Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, asking him for a pardon and clearing of his criminal record, Poikans said, cites LETA.

In his letter to the media Poikans said that he was going to turn to the European Court of Human Rights to contest his conviction but before that he wanted to use the last remedy under the Latvian law - a request for the presidential pardon.


He said that his conviction on criminal charges may create a dangerous precedent and have detrimental effect on Latvia's image of a democratic rule-of-law country in the eyes of both local population and the international community.


As reported, the Latvian Supreme Court on October 27 upheld Riga Regional Court's January 17 ruling sentencing Poikans to 60 hours of community service.


Back in 2009 IT expert Poikans stole from the Latvian State Revenue Service electronic data showing that, despite of the financial and economic crisis in the country, there had been no tightening of belts in the public administration. He leaked this information to the press, using the nickname Neo, but was caught and charged with illegal downloading and disclosure of commercial and personal data.


The Supreme Court said in its ruling that the person who had accessed the Electronic Declaration System of the State Revenue Service without the necessary authorization had used the system's resources in an unlawful way. The Supreme Court said also that accessing commercial secrets in an unlawful way has to be separated from informing the public about topical issues during times of crisis. The Supreme Court's ruling is final and not subject to appeal.


As reported, on January 17, Riga Regional Court overruled a decision of the court of first instance that cleared Poikans of the charges of stealing trade secrets and found him guilty of the charges and gave him 60 hours of community service.


During the first hearing of the appellate claim on November 2, 2015, Riga Regional Court overruled the decision of the court of first instance and acquitted Poikans of the charges of unlawful use of personal data but found him guilty on the charges of stealing trade secrets and gave him 100 hours of community service.


In September 2016 the Latvian Supreme Court lifted the Riga Regional Court's guilty verdict on the charges of stealing trade secrets and ordered a repeated trial at the appellate court. The Supreme Court upheld the Riga Regional Court's decision in the part where Poikans was acquitted of unlawful use of personal data that had caused significant damage.


According to the charges, in July 2009 Poikans found a security hole in the electronic tax return filing system of the State Revenue Service. Between October 2009 and February 2010, he downloaded over 7 million electronic documents about individuals and legal entities, including a bank, hence the charges about stealing trade secrets.

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