Bronze Soldier defendants launch appeal

  • 2009-02-04
  • TBT Staff and wire reports

UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY: Though the Harju County Court found the defendants not guilty, they decided to appeal the decision anyway.

TALLINN - Leaders of the pro-Kremlin organization "Night Vigil," Dmitri Linter and Maksim Reva, have contested formal procedures carried out by the Harju Country Court after recently being acquitted of organizing the 2007 Bronze Soldier riots.

Charges held against the pair were dropped on Jan. 5 this year, but Linter, 35, and Reva, 34, have now lodged an appeal with the higher-ranking Tallinn Circuit Court. The two claim the Harju County Court failed to sufficiently explain the acquittal. The two other defendants have yet to file appeals.
Leonid Olovjanishnikov, Linter and Reva's attorney, said it was their personal wish to contest the decision and that they have every right to do so.

"It has to be observed that the county court has failed to bring out several important grounds for the acquittal," the lawyer said.
Two other men, Mark Siryk, 19, and Dimitri Klenski, 63, were tried alongside Linter and Reva 's but neither filed an appeal following the court's ruling. Siryk, leader of the Estonian arm of Russia's pro-Kremlin youth organization "Nashi," announced he would contest the court's decision but has yet to submit a complaint.
Linter and Reva have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision to translate the court's judgment into Russian orally, rather than in writing. Under Estonian law the language of penal proceedings is Estonian. While the law states that the court's ruling must be translated where necessary, it does not specify that such translations must be provided in writing.

Prosecutor Triin Bergmann has also appealed the court's ruling and will continue to seek the conviction of the quartet on the grounds of organizing mass disturbances when the case appears in the second-tier Tallinn Circuit Court at the end of March.
Bergmann demanded sentences just shy of the Penal Code's five-year maximum sentence for organizing mass disturbances 's suspended four-year jail sentences for Linter, Klenski and Reva, and a suspended three-year sentence for Siryk.


Meanwhile, Night Vigil has registered two gatherings in Tallinn on April 26 to commemorate the second anniversary of the infamous Bronze Soldier riots that erupted after the government relocated the Red Army monument, along with a number of graves, from the city center to a military cemetery.
Sergei Tshaulin, an active Night Vigil member, has registered a public gathering to take place from noon till 2:30 p.m. in Hirvepark, close to where the monument previously stood. Another Night Vigil member, Sergei Tydyakov, has registered a gathering in front of the National Library from 6 until 8 p.m. the same day.
According to the event organizers, the topic of both gatherings will be the preservation of democratic values in present-day Estonia.

Similar gatherings were held in Tallinn during last year's anniversary of the riots. Despite being widely received as antagonistic, none of the demonstrations threatened to turn violent and boil over into a new round of riots.