Eesti in brief - 2012-03-15

  • 2012-03-14

The European Human Rights Court (EHRC) found that the rights of former Kihnu parish governor Johannes Leas, who was convicted at all Estonian court levels for taking a bribe, were violated during the court proceedings, reports Postimees Online. The claims of Maaleht daily that Leas was found not guilty are not true, since EHRC does not have the authority to overturn decisions of Estonian courts, said Estonian Supreme Court communications department head Eveli Kuklane. EHRC found that Leas did not get access to evidence against him and his rights were not guaranteed, as he was not granted equal rights with the other sides of the court case. EHRC stipulated that Leas has to be paid 5,200 euros for moral harm and 3,000 euros to cover his court costs. Leas was convicted in 2007 for taking a bribe and punished with 2.5 years of imprisonment and a ban on the right to work in public service for 3 years.

On March 9 the festive closing of the short-range anti-aircraft system Mistral counter-purchase contract took place, as the result of which 15 million euros’ worth of foreign funds were invested in Estonia, reports National Broadcasting. This was the first defense sphere counter-purchase, with which the supplier of the Mistral system, Swedish Saab and French military industry MBDA, were obliged to invest in Estonia via the counter-purchase system. In reality, the nearly 15 million euros is to be invested in the Estonian economy over five years. Defense Ministry Defense Investments Deputy Chancellor Ingvar Parnamae said that Estonia gave confirmation on what it has to offer, and the ministry intends to implement the counter-purchase obligation with major weapons procurements in the future. He added that long term relations are even more important than the invested funds. In 2007, the Defense Ministry bought from Saab and MBDA the short-range anti-aircraft system Mistral, which cost 56 million euros. With both, the contract with counter-purchase obligations was concluded, i.e. companies from whom the state acquired the defense goods have to buy something from Estonia in certain spheres over five years.

The Estonian Saaremaa island is one of the 1,000 places to see before you die, a book by the same name, claimed to be a New York Times bestseller, published at the end of last year, declares, reports Saarte Haal. The book ‘1,000 Places to See before You Die,’ by Patricia Schultz, contains information about the Kuressaare castle, Viidumae nature preserve, Sorve peninsula, Georg Ots Spa hotel and Padaste Manor’s Alexandri restaurant. Also a few catering facilities in Tallinn have been listed. “This is unbelievable and excellent,” Kuressaare tourism information center head Karmen Paju and tourism lecturer Lii Muru said. Paju said that there are a lot of people who set their travel route on the basis of such books, and thinks that some U.S. travel organizers who have repeatedly visited Saaremaa are “guilty” for the island being included in the book. Muru thinks that the Padaste manor can also be the cause, as it has hosted foreign guests for years.