I sent this to my colleagues in the European Parliament.
Today, on 19 August 2015, a judgment in the case of the Estonian police officer Eston Kohver was made public by the Pskov Court of Russia. The punishment is 15 years of imprisonment in a high security prison.
Almost one year has passed since Eston Kohver’s abduction by the Russian Security Services FSB. The abduction of Eston Kohver from the territory of the Republic of Estonia by the FSB on 5 September 2014 and his unlawful detainment in Russia thereafter constitute a blatant breach of international law.
From the very beginning, there has been no fair administration of justice in the proceedings against Mr. Kohver. The unlawful conviction only adds to and underlines the numerous violations of the principles of international law that have taken place.
Eston Kohver is convicted on the charges of espionage. It is particularly disturbing that there was no public hearing of the case and that the Estonian consul was not allowed to be present at the hearings. Mr. Kohver was deprived of the right to fair proceedings and did not receive adequate legal aid by the attorney appointed by the Russian authorities. His appointed attorney has repeatedly made unclear or even provocative statements, including those that seek to undermine the Estonian authorities. He has provided unclear advice to Mr. Kohver.
Meetings with the Estonian consul constitute the only link to the outside world for Mr.Kohver. The Estonian consul meets with him on a regular basis. FSB officials have participated in these meetings and conversations have been translated into the Russian language. The FSB has immediately interrupted all discussions about the proceedings; the consul is only allowed to talk about family and private matters.
The deterioration of Mr. Kohver’s health during his detention was ignored for a long time. A doctor was not allowed to visit and examine him until 30 December 2014. The judge in Pskov has already two occasions denied requests for a visit by an Estonian doctor. The Estonian consul has requested that Mr. Kohver’s wife will be allowed to visit him but so far the judge has refused such requests.
We call on Russia to immediately release Eston Kohver. Russia must act by its international obligations, release Eston Kohver and guarantee his safe return to Estonia.
Estonia is very grateful to its allies and partners who have supported Estonia and raised the issue of Eston Kohver in international organisations and bilaterally with Russia. Together with our allies and partners, we intend to keep up international pressure until Eston Kohver is released and has returned home to his family.
I hope to get also your support.