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17.01.2023 17:29
The judgment in the citizenship case Antworten

According to Andrejs Rjabcevs, public relations manager of the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA), the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled to reject the naturalization board's request to revoke the Latvian citizenship of doctor of physics Uldis Bērziņš despite the fact that that he received Swedish citizenship in 2007 is an unprecedented case.

“It is now obvious that this decision is somewhat unique and unprecedented in the jurisprudence, since about a hundred cases about the deprivation of Latvian citizenship due to the acquisition of citizenship of another country are answered in court every year, but until now since For more than ten years, the opinion of the court in such cases has been constant,” Ryabcevs admitted.

Accordingly, it would be important for the OCMA to first understand what arguments and reasoning the Court acted upon in this case, and only then can it determine whether the Supreme Court's decision applies to all cases of dual citizenship or only to this case.

“First, the OCMA wants to get acquainted with the full text of the verdict, and only after that will it decide on further actions – whether to appeal this verdict or not,” Rjabcevs said.

The Supreme Court reportedly today denied the Citizenship Board's claim to strip Latvian citizenship of PhD physicist Uldis Bērziņš, who acquired Swedish citizenship in 2007.

In 2007, after acquiring Swedish citizenship, the scientist created a situation of dual citizenship, accordingly, the naturalization board filed a lawsuit with the court for deprivation of Latvian citizenship. Today's Supreme Court ruling contradicts the Riga Regional Court's 2009 ruling, which upheld the naturalization board's claim and stripped Bērziņš of Latvian citizenship.

The newspaper Neatkarīgā reported that Bērziņš received Swedish citizenship in 2007 because it was necessary for his work; However, all this time the scientist has been actively collaborating with the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy (IAPS) of the University of Latvia (LU), developing various projects, attracting resources and looking for an opportunity to return to Latvia.

The scientist's representative in court, Māris Jansons, stated: “We believe that the citizenship law allows maintaining dual citizenship in such cases, and this is a situation from which Latvia would only benefit if Bērziņš retained Latvian citizenship. " .

The Citizenship Act states that citizenship is a permanent association of a person with the state. Since Bērziņš started working as a senior scientist in a high-tech company in Sweden in 2000, he has not lost his connection to the motherland as his entire family lives here.

“If it comes to that, we are ready to sue even before the Constitutional Court and we will try to change the previous legal practice. The situation has now changed significantly as many people are leaving Latvia and the state should be interested in their return, so the question arises as to how to apply this law in the current circumstances. Of course we could get Bērziņš to get citizenship on the basis of special merit, but that is not correct in principle because it is obvious that the system does not work properly that way.' Jansons said at the time.

Supreme Court press secretary Baiba Kataja said that the Civil Cases Chamber of the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the request by the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) to strip the Latvian citizenship of scientist Uldis Bērziņš, who also acquired Swedish Citizenship.

The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs filed a claim with the court, because an inspection revealed that in 2007 Bērziņš had acquired Swedish citizenship. The Riga Regional Court decided to satisfy the claim of the OCMA, but Bērziņš appealed this decision.

After adjudicating the case in the first instance, the Riga Regional Court satisfied the claim on November 27, 2009 and deprived Bērziņš of the citizenship by pointing out that the Citizenship Law does not allow dual citizenship. The court of first instance also stipulated that the legal provisions of the Citizenship Law do not give any basis for the court to evaluate defendant's character and contributions to the science in Latvia, when making the decision on deprivation of citizenship.

In the appeal hearing, the representative of Bērziņš, stipulated that the defendant had a strong connection with Latvia that it is enduring and important to him, and requested the court to evaluate it. The representative of the defendant asked to take into consideration the proportionality principle by evaluating not only the fact that Bērziņš was a doctor of physics and had contributed to the development of science in Latvia, but also how the situation in Latvia had changed during the last years with many people leaving to work abroad, but still having a close connection with Latvia, because their families live here, and actively taking interest in the events in the state and participating in the elections.

The representative of the defendant also drew the attention to the amendments to the Citizenship Law, which had been submitted to the Saeima and would foresee the dual citizenship. These amendments were accepted already in the first reading. The representative of the OCMA did not accept the appeal and sustained the claim.

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