Eesti in brief - 2005-04-13

  • 2005-04-13
Anna Despotopoulou and Zaiga Birzniece, representatives of the Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, praised Estonia's readiness for joining the Schengen area during their visit to the country last week.

Finnish police and customs officials recently arrested four men suspected of participation in a major drug-trafficking network. The police discovered about 22 kilograms of amphetamine in various hiding places in Helsinki. Superintendent Jari Pynnoenen from the drug squad of Helsinki police said the investigation started last summer when the first caches were uncovered.

Res Publica faction chairman Siim Kiisler criticized the new coalition agreement drawn up by the Reform Party, the Centrists and the People's Union for imprudent and unrealistic plans. Kiisler claimed the good-looking promises of the new government would leave a 3-billion kroon (192-million euro) hole in the national budget.

An increase is needed in witness protection legislation, as crimes are becoming more serious, Police Chief Lauri Tabur said. Officials have criticized the bill under discussion in Parliament as being too vague. Currently, witness protection is carried out in accordance with the anonymous witness status defined by the Criminal Code. The government allocated about 191,000 euros for witness protection needs in 2005.

Dutch police found 23 illegal Asian immigrants in a truck driven by a 39-year-old Estonian near the Belgian border. Other truckers tipped the police after hearing suspicious voices from the vehicle in a parking lot. Police have not yet established where the illegal immigrants boarded the truck, though it is known they were en route to Great Britain. Police have detained the driver and the stowaways, and the truck has been confiscated. The nationality of the immigrants is being established.

One senior citizen was injured by glass splinters in an explosion near a community center in a Tallinn residential district on April 6. As a result of the explosion, the nearby school lost about one-third of its windows. None of the children were injured. Security police took control of the case, as the area has seen a dozen explosions over the last decade.