EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, UK Minister for Europe, and several foreign ministers have all called for the release of Estonian security officer, Eston Kohver, following sentencing in Russia. Kohver has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in Russia following his abduction from Estonian territory by Russian Security Services and almost a year in illegal detention.
"Mr Kohver’s abduction and subsequent illegal detention in Russia constitute a clear violation of international law," Mogherini said in a statement. "Moreover, from the very beginning, Mr Kohver has been deprived of the right to a fair trial: there was no public hearing of the case, the Estonian consul was not allowed to be present at the hearings and Mr Kohver was deprived of adequate legal aid."
"Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue," she added. "The EU continues to call on the Russian Federation to act according to its international obligations, release Mr Kohver immediately and guarantee his safe return to Estonia."
UK government minister David Lidington shared her concern for the jailed Estonian official.
"I have repeatedly raised my concerns about the handling of Mr Kohver’s case and called for his release during my meetings with the Russian Ambassador to London," Lidington said, speaking after the sentencing. The Minister for Europe raised the case with the Russian Ambassador in September, December, February and June.
"I urge Russia to release Mr. Kohver immediately, and guarantee his safe return to Estonia," he added.
Lithuania's foreign minister Linas Linkevičius also expressed his disappointment in the verdict, tweeting "“Yet another unlawful act by RU court. Kidnapped EST officer E.Kohver sentenced for crimes he never committed, #FreeKohver, #FreeSavchenko!”
Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs did the same. "I strongly condemn illegal sentence and imprisonment of #EstonKohver, Russia must release him and return back to Estonia," he tweeted.
Finnish foreign minister Timo Soini too wrote: "#Finland still calls on immediate release of Estonian police officer Kohver and his safe return to #Estonia. #FreeEstonKohver."
Editor: M. Oll