Appeals Court Finds in Favor of MP Accused of Urging Schools to Resist Language Reform
In the first decision of its type that has gone against the national security agency, Tallinn District Court ordered the Internal Security Service (ISS) to remove a sentence from its website that stated that Center Party MP and former Tallinn deputy mayor Yana Toom had goaded schools to lobby against the move to change over to Estonian as the language of instruction.
The court stopped short of requiring printed copies of the yearbook from being removed from libraries and other institutions.
The court ordered the ISS to post the following statement in Estonian on its website: "The Internal Security Service notes that on 12 April 2012 it published unlawfully the following claim concerning Yana Toom: 'Yana Toom has, in cooperation with the Human Rights Information Center, pressured Tallinn schools to file petitions to City Council.' This was an inappropriate judgment and its publication by the ISS was unlawful.“
The ISS has until May 12 to appeal to the Supreme Court.
A lower administrative court ahd previously ruled in the ISS's favor.
The controversial ISS yearbook is the one published in April 2012. The book discusses attempts by the Russian Federation to work against the transition to Estonian as the language in 60 percent of upper secondary schools and named several officials, such as Tallinn Deputy Mayor Mihhail Kõvart and Center Party MP Mihhail Stalnuhhin, then chairman of Narva City Council. The latter two have also sued on various grounds. Stalnuhhin's case is currently in a lower court. Kõlvart lost his case in lower court in April last year and appealed.