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News In Brief

November 29, 1983


2 Latvian Baptists tried on anti-Soviet charges

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Two young Latvian Baptists accused of anti-Soviet activities and ties to an underground Latvian independence movement are on trial in the Latvian capital of Riga, according to Latvian exile sources.

Legal proceedings against Janis Rozkalns, jailed since April, and Janis Veveris, in jail since January, began Nov. 21 and are expected to continue through Dec. 5, Monitor contributor Erik Lettander reports. The two are accused of possessing and circulating allegedly anti-Soviet leaflets. They are also charged with ties to an underground independence movement with contacts in the West.

Sources said the trial was being filmed in apparent preparation for some kind of television publicity after both men are sentenced. They face up to seven years' imprisonment. Extensive questioning about relatives in the West has been interpreted as a warning about contact with emigres.

Mr. Rozkalns and Mr. Veveris bring to five the number of Latvians tried on political charges since late summer.