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Russia offers opening for Kohver’s return

  • 2014-10-31
  • From wire reports, TALLINN

Yevgeni Aksyonov, the defense lawyer appointed by the Russian state to represent Estonian Security Police (KaPo) official Eston Kohver, who is currently detained in Moscow, claims that the FSB has thorough video recordings on Kohver crossing the border, reports Eesti Paevaleht.

Aksyonov blames KaPo and the Estonian Foreign Ministry of indifference and stinginess and believes that as a first step, goodwill should be shown towards former KBG officers who opposed Estonian border guard officers in September in the Narva River.

The defense lawyer explained that if the Estonian Embassy rented an apartment for Kohver and transferred to the account of the Lefortovo court a cash deposit, for which groceries could be bought, it would be possible to modify the court's arrest orders to house arrest, so that Kohver would no longer have to be in prison.

Aksyonov said that he has received from KaPo and the Police and Border Guard Board documents that show that Kohver was on the Estonian side. He added that the Russian side has video recordings of Kohver's movements, and GPS evidence about who was located where.

The Estonian Foreign Ministry commented that it is unfortunate that the Russian state-appointed counsel does not follow professional ethics and discusses publicly the details of Kohver's case, reported Public Broadcasting.

The Foreign Ministry on Oct. 30 confirmed once again that with it makes efforts together with the embassy in Moscow to protect the illegally detained Eston Kohver and achieve his fast release and return home. According to the ministry, there is no basis to believe that the current court process is objective and fair.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas also said at an Oct. 30 press conference that it is important to view messages coming from Russia with caution. "We clearly understand that we cannot talk in this issue about independent court practice, or of a lawyer who would represent the client the same way as we are used to in our state of law," said Roivas.

"Everything that is said on the Russian side about this topic, I would call to view via a coefficient. There are their interests behind it, and we are smart enough to understand what those interests are. I recommend viewing all the words with certain reservations," the prime minister added.

KaPo official Kohver was abducted on Sept. 5 at Luhamaa, near the Estonian-Russian border, and was forcibly taken to Russia where he is held in the Lefortovo prison, accused of espionage. If convicted, he can face 10-20 years in prison.