Following Kohver case, Riigikogu passes law on "malicious entry into Estonia"

  • 2015-04-02
  • from wire reports and TBT staff, TALLINN

Earlier today (April 2) The Estonian government approved amendments to the Penal Code, prompted by the abduction of Eston Kohver in September of last year, Postimees Online reports.

As a result of these amendments, a new type of crime has been added to the country's Penal Code: malicious entry into the Republic of Estonia. Since the new crimes are part of crimes of terrorism threatening the state authority, they will be investigated by the Security Police.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas said during a government press conference that it is clear that the state must continue the construction of border line facilities, but added that legal deterrence is also important. "Anyone planning acts of violence at the Estonian state border, must know that this would be a criminal offence, which would lead to an unambiguous reaction, as well as a strict punishment," said Rõivas.

The Riigikogu passed the amendments to the Penal Code prompted by the abduction of Kohver at the end of last year. Malicious entry into the Republic of Estonia can now punished with a sentence of imprisonment of between one and five years. Under aggravating circumstances, such as when the person crossing the border has a weapon or someone's life has been put in danger, a sentence of between three and ten years can be given.

In September of last year, Eston Kohver, an Estonian Internal Security Service officer, was abducted by the Russian FSB from Estonian territory near the border crossing at Luhamaa in the south-east of the country. Russia claims that he had already crossed the border at the time of his capture, and that he was carrying a pistol, a recording device and 5,000 euros in cash. Estonia does not dispute this, but claims the items were used in his daily job - investigating smuggling along the border. Kohver has been imprisoned in Moscow since his capture. In March, the EU officially protested to Russia, pointing out that he is being "illegally detained."