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Estonian parliament to strip leaders of immunity

  • 2008-12-15
  • TBT staff in cooperation with BNS

Bribery is still rampant among leaders

TALLINN - The Estonianparliament is getting ready to strip immumity of former leaders of the People'sUnion, Villu Reiljan and Ester Tuiksoo as memebers of parliament.

"We have always supported it and will support it in the future, if thejustice chancellor makes a respective proposal," said Eiki Nestor,chairman of the Social-Democratics told daily Eesti Paevaleht.

Margus Tsahkna from the Pro Patria and Res Publica faction said there hadnot been any discussion on the issue in the faction yet but a proposal from thejustice chancellor regarding the matter would be supported.

Karel Ruutli, chairman of the People's Union and head of its parliamentaryfaction, said that it was regrettable the matter had dragged out so long."We eventually want to have clarity in those issues ourselves,"Ruutli said.

"Until the present Reiljan and Tuiksoo are under the attack ofpoliticians on the one hand and of the media on the other hand and there isnothing in particular we can protect. So it rather pays to support it,"said Evelyn Sepp, deputy chairwoman of the Constitutional Committee from theCenter party.

Reformist Vaino Linde said that stripping Reiljan and Tuiksoo of theirimmunity was in their own interests. "We have the presumption of innocenceand so a person is right until he or she has not been convicted."

On Dec. 12 the Public Prosecutor's Office filed an application to JusticeChancellor Indrek Teder for the taking of measures that would permit strippingReiljan and Tuiksoo of their immunity as members of parliament.

Jaana Padrik, public relations adviser to the justice chancellor told BNS that the Justice Chancellor wouldstudy the application as well as materials of the criminal case and form hisposition.

A member of parliament can be brought to criminal responsibility at thejustice chancellor's proposal and with the agreement of the majority of themembers of parliament.

If the parliament decides to strip Reiljan and Tuiksoo of their immunity asmembers of parliament, the Public Prosecutor's Office will send the statementof charges in the land swap criminal case to court.

In the framework of the same criminal case, the Prosecutor's Office isplanning to bring charges also against former head of the Land Board KalevKangur and the businessmen Toomas Annus, Tullio Liblik, Tarmo Pedjassaar, EinarVettus as well as against the companies AS Jarvevana (the former Merko Ehitus)and AS E.L.L. Kinnisvara.

Villu Reiljan, Ester Tuiksoo and Kalev Kangur are suspected of taking andthe other of giving bribes.