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Russia puts Estonian spy in prison for 15 years – Tallinn enraged

Eston Kohver. Photo: istochnik.info

On Aug 19, a court in Pskov heard the case of Eston Kohver, an Estonian internal security officer detained in the territory of Russia in Sept 2014.

According to EADaily’s correspondent, the court has ruled to put Kohver in high security prison for 15 years.

The judge said that Kohver could appeal against the sentence within ten days.

“Kohver spoke just once. When the judge asked him if the verdict was clear to him, he said in Russian, ‘It is.’ This is all he said,” says a correspondent from Eesti Päevaleht.

Kohver was caught spying in Pskov region on Sept 5 2014. He had a Taurus pistol, 5,000 EUR, special equipment to carry out covert recording and materials that seem to be assignments for an intelligence-gathering mission.

The Estonians claim that Kohver was abducted by unknown people from the territory of Estonia.

In its comment on Twitter, the Embassy of Estonia in Russia says that Estonia strongly condemns the judgment rendered by the Pskov regional court as well as the entire trial and calls on Russia to immediately release Eston Kohver.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas says the trial is a farce and the verdict is unfair.

In a Facebook post, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves called on his compatriots to wear yellow ribbons in support of Kohver. During a meeting with Kohver’s family, Ilves said that for him and for all Estonians Kohver was still a devoted internal security officer, who was in serious trouble.

In an interview to Delfi, member of the European Parliament Urmas Paet said that Kohver’s trial was a farce. He said that when Kohver was detained, it was already clear how his trial would end. “We must try not to fall into this trap and not to let them involve us into their game. For us things have not changed: Eston Kohver was abducted a year ago and is in Russia. So, we must continue insisting on his release. We must involve our allies in this case. And we must also ask international human rights organizations to keep an eye on Kohver while he is in jail,” Paet said.

According to Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, Kohver’s abduction and subsequent illegal detention in Russia constitute a clear violation of international law. "Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue. The EU continues to call on the Russian Federation to act according to its international obligations, release Mr Kohver immediately and guarantee his safe return to Estonia," Mogherini says.

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