Convicted traitor Herman Simm released from jail on probation

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Herman Simm.
Herman Simm. Source: ERR

Convicted traitor Herman Simm has been released from prison early, on probation.

Simm, 72, was freed by Tartu County Court on Thursday. He was convicted of treason by Harju County Court in February 2009, with his sentence was backdated to September 2008, and due to run until March 18, 2021, meaning he has served 11 years and two months from the total prison sentence of 12 years and six months from ten years ago, BNS reports.

Simm is to be subject to supervision of conduct, additional supervision requirements and various obligations during his probationary period, which can be cut short and the unserved remaining portion of his original sentence be reinstated should he violate probationary terms, according to BNS.

Simm's previous requests for early release had been rejected by the court on multiple occasions before.  

Civil claims from the defense ministry against Simm amounted to nearly €1.38 million (20,155,000 Estonian Kroons, the currency at the time).

According to security police investigations, Simm had been handing over thousands of classified documents to Russian Federation foreign intelligence service the SVR for nearly 13 years.

Both the prison service and the prosecutor's office supported his early release, though justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) opposed it.

The Tartu court's decision can be appealed within 15 days, BNS reports.

The court took the view that early release will positively influence Simm in future law-abidance than serving out the full sentence in a penal institution would.

The court also estimated Simm's recidivism risk to be very low, including risk of access to various classified information and documents which could be of interest to foreign countries or their organizations.

Simm's advanced age and his state of health, which was not reported, were also factors, as was other preconditions for early release, including his behavior under sentence, which had been fulfilled, BNS reports.

The availability of a place of residence upon release for Simm was also taken into consideration.

The court also noted that while in today's climate the original sentence handed to Simm might seem lenient, it was in line with sentences at the time it was given, meaning that it does not follow that present-day tougher sentences should be applied to the considerations.

Simm is a former chief of the security department of the Estonian Ministry of Defence. He had served in the Soviet Militsiya (military police) in the Estonian SSR, attaining the rank of Pokolvnik, roughly equivalent to that of Colonel in most English-speaking countries. In 2009, he was found guilty of having sold thousands of confidential documents to Russian foreign intelligence service the SVR.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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