President withdraws award from mother convicted of abuse

Malle Kobin
Malle Kobin

President Kersti Kaljulaid has stripped Malle Kobin, who was awarded the title of Mother of the Year in 2013 and has been convicted of abusing her stepchildren, of the Order of the Estonian Red Cross, 4th Class, bestowed on her in 2014.

The decoration must be returned to the Office of the President of the Republic, spokespeople for the president said on Thursday.

In accordance with the Decorations Act, the president may decide to withdraw a decoration when a court judgment which convicts the holder of an intentionally committed criminal offense has become final.

A court sentence according to which Kobin must spend six months in jail became final on Wednesday when the Supreme Court decided not to handle an appeal by Kobin's attorney Aivar Ennok.

In December last year, the Tallinn Circuit Court decided that Kobin is to immediately serve six months of her prison term while the remaining part of her term was changed into a suspended sentence of four years with a probation period of five years.

At the end of August last year, the Pärnu County Court sentenced Kobin to four years and six months in prison. The county court found Kobin guilty of illegally taking possession of property, depriving minors of liberty without a legal basis and their physical abuse. While the county court's guilty verdict was upheld by the circuit court, the latter ruled that Kobin is to only serve a part of her prison sentence.

Kobin was charged with crimes against five stepchildren aged 9-17. She was accused of repeatedly hitting them with both hands and feet and locking them in various rooms for five minutes to several days. Under the section on unlawful deprivation of liberty, the woman was also accused of forcing children to stand in one place for 12 hours or more as a punishment. In addition, Kobin was accused of taking illegal possession of the bicycle, computer and other things of an adult child who had moved away from her.

Kobin did not plead guilty to any crime in court. She asserted that she had not beaten any of the children, that no one had to stand up as a punishment on her orders, and that she had not deprived anyone of their liberty by closing them in a room. She explained the allegation of illegally taking possession of property by the fact that the youth who had moved away from her stole money from her, so she kept the items with her during the negotiations.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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