Recipient May Be Stripped of Citizen Activism Medal Over Criminal Record
The Ministry of Justice is considering whether to take back a decoration for civic courage given out last Tuesday, after it emerged that the recipient had previously been found guilty of assault.
Maiko Arras, 26, received the decoration for a deed in September, in which he and another man helped save the life of a stabbing victim in Tallinn's Old Town and proceeded to catch the suspect.
However, no sooner was the award bestowed then Arras's own record came under scrutiny. In 2005, Arras and two other men ganged up on an individual in a Tartu apartment, for which Arras was handed a conditional sentence three years ago. The crime has since been wiped from his record.
"Certainly the victims [sic] of his previous crime do not find that the aforementioned individual should be a role model for the Estonian people or that we should come to terms with a situation where despite failing to fulfill court-ordered obligations, we can consider everything that came before to be redeemed by this decoration," the 2005 victim said in a letter sent to uudised.err.ee.
The Justice Ministry's judging committee is now reconsidering the recognition. Deputy Chancellor Kristel Siitam-Nyiri told Postimees that the award presumes a clean record.
"We have clarified the punitive circumstances related to the given individual and we have asked for supplementary explanation from the one who submitted his candidacy to the committee. From the information received, it can be said that the individual was presented as a candidate for the decoration for a deed in which he probably saved another person's life and had a decisive role in helping to solve the crime. We should also believe in a person's ability to correct himself," said Siitam-Nyiri.