Estonia: Johvi municipality sues interior minister for alleged slander

  • 2019-04-01
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The municipality of Johvi in northeastern Estonia has sued Interior Minister Katri Raik for alleged dissemination of false claims. 

"I regret it, but the incumbent minister of the interior has got carried away and is no longer able to control what she says," municipality mayor Martin Repinski said. "Since she has published false claims about the municipality, we have no choice but to sue her for them."

Specifically, the municipality is referring to a post published on Raik's Facebook account titled "Center Party -- hands off from the people of Johvi!" in which the outgoing Social Democratic Party (SDE) minister said that at the beginning of this year, the nonprofit MTU Johvi Noorteparlament (NPO Johvi Youth Parliament) led by Jekaterina Vassiljeva, a friend of Repinski, received a financial subsidy from the municipality.

Repinski dismissed the claim as incorrect and linking the nonprofit to the subsidies earmarked in the budget of the municipality of Johvi in 2019 as far-fetched, as no payouts have been made and there are no grounds for any payouts to be made in the future.

"Several progressively minded municipalities support the activities of the youth council to link young people more to local life. The municipality of Johvi allocated 30,000 euros with the supplementary budget this year for the operating costs of the youth council, with which we wished to intensify the activity of the youth council already this year," Repinski said. "If the minister of the interior considers it necessary to comment on this simultaneously with doing her work and sees other connections in the municipality's actions, my recommendation for her is to get informed first. As things stand now, her opinions rely too much on rumors and help to disseminate them." 

The municipality demands that Raik publish a post retracting incorrect claims next to the original Facebook post made on March 22. The municipality also wants the media outlets that republished Raik's post to publish a retraction.