8 Estonian citizens in Russian prisons
With kidnapped security service official Eston Kohver set to become the ninth Estonian citizen serving time in Russia's prisons, daily Postimees takes a look a closer look at Estonian citizens and residents in the Russian prison system.
According to FSIN, the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia, 28,000 foreigners are currently in prison in Russia, but only 8 of them are Estonian citizens, Postimees reported. The paper added that the Estonian Foreign Ministry also keeps tabs on Estonians in Russian prison and comes to a figure of 14 with people in pre-trial detention, and another 11 who are residents, but not citizens, of Russia. According to FSIN, 26 Estonian citizens were incarcerated in Russia in 2006.
Kohver, who is likely to receive a lengthy sentence on August 19 for a number of offenses including espionage, carrying an illegal firearm and crossing the border illegally, does not figure in the foreign ministry's statistics as he was apprehended on Estonian, not Russian soil.
Estonian authorities only receive information about a imprisoned Estonian if that prisoner chooses to inform authorities.
The Estonian citizens held in Russia have been sentenced for various crimes, although drugs smuggling is one of the top reasons, such as a businessman who is serving 15 years, the longest of the 8, for smuggling drugs in frozen fish in 2005, but also Jevgeni Mironov, an Estonian citizen who received seven years for his alleged role in the hijacking of the ship Arctic Sea, although the daily reports that he was released last week for good behavior after being sentenced in 2011 to seven years.