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EU urges Russia to free ‘immediately’ jailed Estonian policeman


Federica_Mogherini_daticameraEU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Russia to free an Estonian policeman it sentenced Wednesday to 15 years’ jail on espionage charges, denouncing his “abduction” as a breach of international law.

Russian prosecutors said Eston Kohver was detained on Russian territory as he carried out an undercover operation last September but Tallinn said Moscow’s FSB security service kidnapped him at gunpoint on Estonian territory as he was investigating cross-border crime.

“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 said in a statement.

“Mr Kohver’s abduction and subsequent illegal detention in Russia constitute a clear violation of international law,” the statement said.

She added that “Kohver has been deprived of the right to a fair trial” from the start as there was no public hearing, he was “deprived of adequate legal aid” and the Estonian consul was not allowed to be present during proceedings.

A court in Russia’s western Pskov region, which borders EU- and NATO-member Estonia, sentenced Kohver to 15 years in jail on charges of spying, weapon possession and illegally crossing the border, his court-appointed lawyer, Yevgeny Aksyonov, told AFP.

Tensions between Russia and the ex-Soviet Baltic states have soared over Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and alleged backing of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Many in Estonia believe Kohver’s arrest was timed deliberately.

It came just two days after US President Barack Obama visited Tallinn to trumpet Baltic security following Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

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  • Chijioke Oweregbulam

    How many people know that Crimea originally belonged to Russia but was given to Ukraine by Russia (without any consideration whatsoever)when both countries were parts of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). So, if Russia now decides to take back what originally belonged to it, what’s the problem there, after all, Russia did not receive payment initially when the Peninsula was transferred to Ukraine. The West should stop fanning the ember of crisis around the world, they have started, the same way they falsely accused President Saddam Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction, the same way they accused Col. Mummar Ghaddafi of dictatorship and human rights violation in order to destabilise both countries. The people of Ukraine should not be under any illusion of thinking that fighting Russia will make their society better or that the west will fight for them against Russia when the chips are down. They should learn from what is happening in Libya, Iraq and Syria. These are countries that lent themselves to western manipulation and today, they are facing the consequences of the choice they have made.

    • Burbank

      Let the people of Ukraine, Estonia, Crimea decides their own future freely and fairly.

      We have enough problems in Nigeria already with Niger Delta terrorists calling for Biafra and Boko Haram militants fighting for a separate Islamic caliphate.

      • Chijioke Oweregbulam

        Exactly, I agree with you. People should allowed self determination as to where they want to belong. Are you aware that ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine voted overwhelmingly to join Russia but the government in Kieve backed by the west will have none of that. That is the main cause of the crisis in the Ukraine. As for those you referred to as Niger Delta and Boko Haram terrorists wanting Republic of Biafra and a Caliphate Republic, my answer is;- people should be allowed self determination- Nigeria should take a cue from Britain that allowed the Scottish people to vote as to whether they want to still be part of the UK or they want to opt out and form their own country, and allow the people of the areas where there are agitations for a separate identity to vote and decide their future. That is the civilised way to go not this shedding of blood all in a bid to force people to accept a particular notion of Nation State.
        My opinion should not in any way be construed to mean a support for separation in Nigeria, all I am saying is that we must stop the senseless shedding of innocent bloods. Who knows, it might even be that majority of the people in areas agitating for separation will vote for one Nigeria as it happened in the case of the Scotland.

        • Burbank

          Splitting up Nigeria is NOT the same as the Scottish referendum. Even the votes of ethnic Russian to separate away from Kiev was manipulated by Moscow, and not purely a Crimean affair. The Biafra disaster had cost more than a million Nigerian lives – it is stupid and suicidal to tread the same road again, when everybody of the consequences for the South. Look at South Sudan – after Juba separated from Khartoum, those South Sudaneses are still killing each other, up to today.
          What if the Itsekiris refused to allowed their oil resources in Delta to be siphoned by the Ijaws? What if Urhubos refused to be lumped together with Tivs?
          Do we separate Nigeria into a hundred tiny states? Unity is the answer and the world powers – Russia, China, US and UK will be happy to see our country disintegrate into nothingness.

          • Chijioke Oweregbulam

            You did not tell me the difference between a referendum conducted in Scotland and that conducted in Nigeria neither did you say how Russia manipulated the votes in Eastern Ukraine. To me, a referendum is a referendum if properly conducted. The Biafran experiment I quite agree with you was a disaster, it happened because people were not allowed to express their preferences via a referendum. if Ojukwu and Gowon had towed the democratic path, the story would have been different today. As to into how many units, that is a question that a referendum will also address. The cause of the problems to me, is people wanting by all means to impose their opinion on others without allowing them their democratic right of exercising their freedom of choice.