A man detained in Latvia on suspicion of spying for Russia has died in detention after developing sudden health problems, prison authorities said.
Igors Bobirs was detained in August, with authorities in Riga claiming he could have been working for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) secret service.
The Prison Administration of Latvia said on Wednesday that 53-year-old Bobirs – who had still not been officially charged – had died one week earlier, after being admitted to hospital.
It did not give a cause of death for the Russian-born man, but said there had been a “rapid deterioration” in his health.
The LETA news agency, a Latvian media organisation, said police had launched an investigation and post-mortem and toxicology reports were ordered.
High-profile espionage trial
Bobirs and three other suspects were detained after their names came up in the high-profile espionage trial of Janis Adamsons, the former Latvian interior minister.
Adamsons, a former navy deputy chief, was convicted this month of spying for Russia and sentenced to eight and a half years in jail. The 67-year-old had reportedly been able to transmit information of varying degrees of secrecy to Russia for four years.
Erlens Ernstsons, the Riga City Court judge, stated at the time: “Adamsons collected secret and unclassified information for the Russian secret services, in an illegal, systematic and targeted way.”
Latvia is a former Soviet republic that is now a Nato and EU member. Its relationship with Moscow has strained as it staunchly supports Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
Two weeks ago, Latvia’s president told the Associated Press that countries must keep supplying arms to Ukraine, or Russia would have a green light for threatening others in the future.