Government can now revoke citizenship of convicted traitors

Ministry of the Interior coat of arms.
Ministry of the Interior coat of arms. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government approved an amendment to the Citizenship Act, which allows the Estonian citizenship to be stripped from a person who has been convicted of serious crimes against the state.

According to the amendment, the government can revoke citizens who have acquired Estonian citizenship via naturalisation of their citizenship, if they have been convicted of treason or terrorist offences.

Upon the amendment entering into force, the government can revoke the citizenship of someone convicted of serious crimes against the state, committing or attempting terrorist offences, belonging to a terrorist organization, or funding and supporting acts of terror.

The amendment affects people that have acquired Estonian citizenship through naturalisation, those who have acquired it by birth will not be affected.

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) explained: "According to the law currently in force, citizenship can only be revoked if a person attempts to violently change constitutional order in the country. There is no bill in legislation which allows for citizenship deprivation for other serious crimes against the state. Holding Estonian citizenship is an honor and someone who has opposed their country should not have it."

Citizenship can be revoked even if it leaves the convict without one. Dependent on the specific case, the convict can also be forced out of the country.

According to data from the Ministry of Justice, since 2010, five people have been convicted of treason, two of terrorist offences, and one for intelligence operations against the state.

Of the eight people mentioned, four have acquired citizenship by naturalisation. Of those four, two had their citizenships revoked. The others have been either citizens of Estonia from birth, or citizens of another state.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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