European Parliament demands immediate release of Kohver; Toom abstains (6)
MEPs urged Russia to release the abducted Estonian official Eston Kohver, and two Ukrainians arrested by Russia in Crimea.
The European Parliament said Russia blatantly violated the territorial integrity of Estonia and Ukraine and Russian authorities are not competent to judge acts committed outside the recognized territory of Russia.
Kohver was kidnapped from Estonian soil a year ago, then taken to Russia where he was recently sentenced to 15 years for espionage and other charges. The two Ukrainians, Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko were detained in Crimea, which Russia annexed last year from Ukraine. The two men were accused of plotting terrorist attacks.
The European Parliament also asked EU authorities to draw up a list of people involved in the abduction, illegal detention and sentencing of the three men. The people involved would then be black-listed by the EU, refused entry and their assets in the EU would be frozen.
The vote for the resolution followed speeches by Estonian MEPs Urmas Paet, Kaja Kallas, Marju Lauristin, Tunne Kelam and Indrek Tarand. 378 MEP voted for the resolution, 111 against and 138 abstained.
MEPs take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, September 10, few wearing a yellow ribbon in support of Eston Kohver (Photo: Reuters/Scanpix).
IRL MEP Kelam said there was support for the resolution all along the political board in the Parliament, adding that even the extremists and communists lent their support.
Independent MEP Tarand said Jean-Marie Le Pen's group was against the resolution, saying Kohver might not have been abducted from Estonian soil, which is Russia's position.
The debate in the European Parliament is available for viewing from here.
Center Party MEP Yana Toom was the only Estonian representative not to vote for the resolution. She abstained. All others also held speeches before the vote.
Toom has often criticized Estonia's policy towards Russia, and has called on the European Parliament to drop sanctions against Russia.