Interpol Notice 'Cleared by Independent Committee'
An Interpol spokesman told ETV that each country has the right to determine whether to enforce the wanted person notice for Tallinn mayoral candidate Eerik-Niiles Kross that appeared on the international police organization's database yesterday.
The notice, the representative said, is not an international warrant, but lets authorities in its 190 member countries know that there is a warrant out, in this case issued by Russia. Nevertheless, the representative said, most countries will honor such a notice.
A senior Estonian police official says the wanted posting for Kross's arrest was cleared by an independent committee with Interpol whose job is to screen and block any ads that appear to be of a political nature.
The official, Reijo Valgjärv, deputy chief of criminal intelligence with the Estonian police's major crimes unit, told Postimees: "If such a suspicion arises, the entry will be blocked so that it will not become visible to other countries and that person is essentially not internationally wanted."
"The last information that we received from Interpol's general secretariat was in fact the committee's decision that, in the given instance, a conflict is not seen with article three of Interpol's statutes, and permission has been given to pursue Eerik-Niiles Kross using Interpol's resources," Valgjärv said.
Valgjärv added that the decision came as the result of a long process and that the timing overlap with the elections seemed to be coincidental.
"Indeed, I cannot see any ties whatsoever with the everyday work of the independent supervisory committee and Estonia's local elections," he said.
Valgjärv also stressed the fact that Kross is not being pursued by Interpol itself, but by the Russian Federation. "Interpol has simply made it possible for Russia to use its database for these purposes," he said.
The official said traveling abroad will now have risks for Kross, but that each country can itself interpret whether there is a conflict with Interpol's statutes.
Meanwhile, the Estonian Prosecutor's Office has maintained that there is no basis to detain Kross, calling for Russian authorities, who have sought to question him, to be more open with their information and more cooperative with Estonian authorities.
In a carefully worded statement, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip (Reform) also made remarks on the Kross case, saying that it was "unacceptable to politicize a criminal investigation."
Estonian Interior Minister Ken-Marti Vaher, who is a fellow member of Kross's party, said Estonia plans to lodge a protest at the Interpol general assembly next week. It will be argued that Russia's warrant for Kross (see previous posts) has a political motive.
Kross is wanted by Russian authorities on suspicion of piracy, in connection with the infamous Arctic Sea affair.