Estonian freedom fighter, politician, honorary member of the Defense League (Kaitseliit) volunteer corps and honorary citizen of Tartu Enn Tarto died on Sunday, the Defense League said.
Born in Tartu on September 25, 1938, Tarto devoted himself to restoring Estonia's national independence in his youth in the 1950s. Tarto was served 14 years in forced labor camps of the Soviet Union for his political activism. He was finally released in 1988.
Tarto was active in many areas during and after the restoration of Estonia's independence, having been one of the drafters of the Baltic Appeal - a joint memorandum to the UN and the major powers - as well as one of the re-founding the Defense League.
He was a member of parliament in three compositions of the Riigikogu, president of the Estonian member organization of the Paneuropean Movement, member of four Tartu city council compositions and one of the leaders of the Estonian Memento Association.
He was included in the list of 100 great Estonians of the 20th century for his role as a public figure and politician.
Tarto was awarded numerous medals by the institutions of the Republic of Estonia as well as international decorations, including the Order of the National Coat of Arms (2nd class), 1st Class of the Kaitseliit White Cross, the Officer Cross of the Vytis Cross Order, the Officer Cross of the Merit Order of the Hungarian Republic and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. He was also the first honorary member of Defense League as well as chairman of the volunteer corps' council of elders from 1993 to 2003.
Defense League and the City of Tartu extend their condolences to Tarto's next of kin and commemorate him as a steadfast champion of Estonia's independence.
Editor: Helen Wright