Estonia Condemns Sentencing of National in Russia, Demands Release
12:43 19.08.2015 (updated 12:47 19.08.2015)
Estonia condemns the sentencing of one of its nationals in Russia and demands his immediate release, Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand said Wednesday.
TALLINN (Sputnik) – The regional court of the northwestern Russian city Pskov sentenced Eston Kohver, an Estonian Internal Security Service officer, to 15 years in prison earlier in the day. Kohver was found guilty of espionage, smuggling, possession of firearms, as well as illegally crossing the state border.
"Today’s judgment does not change our position. We call on Russia to immediately release Eston Kohver," Kaljurand said in a press release published on the ministry’s website.
The Estonian diplomat added that the Pskov court decision constituted a "blatant breach of international law."
"We demand that Russia act according to its international obligations, release Eston Kohver and guarantee his safe return to Estonia," Kaljurand stressed.
Tallinn maintains that Kohver was kidnapped by unidentified persons near the Luhamaa border checkpoint and taken to Russia at gunpoint on September 5, 2014.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said Kohver was detained in the Pskov Region of Russia bordering Estonia, with hidden recording devices, a pistol and 5,000 euros (over $5,500 at current exchange rates) in cash.
The Estonian Security Service claims Kohver was performing his duties to prevent cross-border smuggling. The Russian special services assert that they foiled undercover operations conducted by an agency of the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
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