Ilves on Dressen pardon: Kohver's freedom primary (2)

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Postimees/Scanpix)
9/29/2015 11:00 AM
Category: Politics

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said the stance towards Aleksei Dressen was secondary, when signing his pardon, as it led to the release of Eston Kohver.

Ilves signed the pardon for Dressen, who was sentenced to 16 years for treason against Estonia in 2012, while at the UN General Assembly on Friday. Dressen was exchanged for Kohver, an Estonian official abducted by Russia a year ago, on Saturday morning.

“I felt very little. It was a means of getting our citizen back to Estonia and of course, the Estonian president will do all it takes, within the law, and following Estonia's laws, to bring an Estonian citizen home. And if this demands that I pardon a person imprisoned for treason, then the overruling factor here is that we have our citizen released,” Ilves said.

He said the conclusion to the saga does not change the two countries' relations.

“It is very difficult to say what this means, considering that kidnapping an Estonian citizen from Estonian territory certainly is not a fact which allows two nations to move forward. At best, the earlier situation has been restored, when the abducted Estonian citizen is back at home,” Ilves said, adding that Estonia has turned more focus on internal security, and the Estonian-Russian border, compared to prior the incident, which saw Kohver forced over the border into Russia.

Ilves said that releasing Kohver was a positive mark by Russia ahead of a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama.

Obama and Putin met in New York on Monday, with Ilves saying the two have great number of topics to discuss, adding that one less, in the form of Kohver, can only be good.

Ilves himself will address the UN General Assembly late on Tuesday evening.

J.M. Laats

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