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Latvia charges prince flower girl

RIGA, Latvia -- A Latvian girl has been charged with hooliganism for trying to swipe Britain's Prince Charles in the face with flowers during his visit to the Baltic state earlier this month.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor-general's office told Reuters news agency 16-year-old Alina Lebedeva could face up two years in prison, a fine or community service if found guilty. No date for the trial had been set as prosecutors had not completed their investigation.

The schoolgirl lurched at the heir to the British throne with a bunch of carnations protesting that she was angry about Afghanistan after he laid flowers at Latvia's Freedom Monument during a visit in November.

The incident drew an apology from Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, who had been with the prince. Lebedeva and her family have sent letters of apology to him.

Previously, police had said she might be charged with assaulting a foreign dignitary, an offence carrying a possible 15 years in jail. Prince Charles had made a plea for lenience.

Britain has been the strongest supporter of U.S. military strikes against Afghanistan, intended to root out Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the Sept. 11 hijacked aircraft attacks in the United States.


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• The Prince of Wales
• Fact Sheets on Latvia

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