Former education minister: Of course, parliamentary immunity must be waved

Mailis Reps being interviewed by host Taavi Eilat.
Mailis Reps being interviewed by host Taavi Eilat. Source: Vladlen Pobjaržin/ERR

Former education minister Mailis Reps, who is currently subject to a criminal investigation, said on the Pealtnägija investigative journalism program that she supports being stripped of her parliamentary immunity as otherwise her case will not be sent to court.

Reps (Center) was asked about the removal of her parliamentary immunity, which, if not lifted, would have stopped the case from going to court.

"With regard to parliamentary immunity - it is a very odd thing. In my opinion, it should be excluded from the law. I understand where it comes from - the logic of the 1920s and 1930s - but today, there are no exceptions. It is actually odd because the issue of parliamentary immunity is to be decided by MPs with their personal vote in a situation where they have no information. Absolutely none, including me - and I am being accused of some 100 deadly sins at this point. I don't have the complete file because the complete file is to be submitted to the court, and it cannot be submitted to the court until the parliamentary immunity is lifted," Reps said.

"Thus, one needs to go through this strange phase, which is indeed always done in this way, and it is in fact a formality. It is not actually necessary at all. Of course, the immunity has to be lifted, otherwise [the case] won't make it to the court," she said.

As no appeals were made before the deadline, the prosecutor's office is preparing to lift Reps' parliamentary immunity.

In fall 2020, it was revealed Reps had been using the ministry's assets and workforce in the interest of herself and her family.

Reps also had the taxpayer cover a birthday party at the Mon Repos restaurant in Tallinn.

The affair culminated with Reps stepping down from her position as minister and criminal proceedings being launched. The case has yet to be sent to court.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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