The trial of four men accused of organizing last April's Bronze Soldier riots in Tallinn began in a lower Harju County court on Jan. 14. An indictment was read out accusing Estonian citizens Dmitri Linter (34), Dmitri Kelnsky (62), Mark Siryk (18) and stateless Maksim Reva (33) of orchestrating public disturbances. All four men have pled not guilty to the charges. Proceedings had to be delayed temporarily due to the exhaustion of the interpreter while the 44-page document was being read out. The indictment mentions dozens of telephone conversations with supporters and media statements made by the defendants. Siryk is a member of the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth group while the other defendants are leaders of the Night Watch group.
Vice-Chairman of the ruling Reform Party Meelis Atonen has announced his decision to resign from parliament, effective Feb. 10. "I admire people like Mart Laar and Mark Nutt who are capable of spending their whole lives in politics," he said. Atonen cited personal reasons for his departure and stated that after 15 years as a politician the time had come to do something else. Atonen sits on the board of directors of the currency exchange company Tavid. Atonen has served as mayor of Valga, has been an MP since 1999 and was Minister of Economy and Communications in 2003 - 04.
The European Commission has dismissed large protests held outside its Moscow office by members of the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth group this week. The youth were voicing disagreement with EU visa regulations which has barred many members of the group from entering the Schengen area, many of whom were blacklisted by Estonia. An EC press officer stated that issuing of visas is not in the organization's competency, and that such protests should be addressed to the particular member state that bars entry. Several Nashi members have been turned away or deported from Estonia for violating entry bans.
A British citizen was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 11 for the murder of an Estonian shop-keeper in London in July 2006. Garath Davies killed Egeli Rasta in a London park while under the influence of cannabis. The judge determined the motives to be sexual and ruled that Davies must serve a minimum of 23 years.