The mercenary fled to Russia in 2020 / Photo from Beness Aijo's Facebook page

In Latvia, the court has in absentia sentenced notorious Latvian-born mercenary Beness Aijo, nom de guerre "Black Lenin," who fought against the Ukrainian army in Donbas alongside with the Russia-controlled self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic," to two years and six months in prison.

This was reported by the Latvian news agency LETA.

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Aijo was found guilty of the crimes under Article 81, Article 82 and Article 83, namely, calling for the violent overthrow of the government, calling for the abolition of state independence and calling for the undermining of the territorial integrity of Latvia.

The decision could be appealed within ten days from the delivery of the full judgment on May 31.

Aijo is said to be residing in Russia since 2020.

What is known about "Black Lenin"

  • Beness Aijo, 40, a Latvian citizen of Russian/Ugandan ethnicity.
  • He has been an activist of the National Bolshevik Party since 1998, member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), and the Korean Friendship Association-UK. Aijo has participated in many actions in solidarity with Palestine.
  • He was active in the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and joined Russia-led forces fighting against Ukraine in Donbas. Aijo has been arrested multiple times and tried for his political activities.
  • In 2020, he was arrested at the request of Ukraine in the village of Shiyes, Russia's Arkhangelsk region, where he came to support local residents protesting against the construction of a landfill.
  • He was later released by Russian police.