Tartu court finds local elections candidate guilty of domestic violence

Judge's seat in an Estonian court (photo is illustrative).
Judge's seat in an Estonian court (photo is illustrative). Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

A court has found a South Estonian local councilor guilty of domestic violence, and also of vote-buying during the October 2021 local elections. The individual has served just under two months' actual jail time, and has been released on probation for the rest of their sentence.

ERR reports that the first-tier Tartu County Court found Indrek Sarap, who ran for the Reform Party in the Tõrva municipality in October's elections, guilty of domestic violence and of vote-rigging, sentencing him to two years and seven months' imprisonment.

Since Sarap had already been detained and served one month and 29 days in jail when the sentence was meted out, he will serve the remainder on probation, following a plea deal, ERR reports.

Sarap is also subject to a three-year restraining order in respect of his ex-wife, whom he was accused of physically assaulting on four separate occasions and of preventing her from exiting a vehicle on two further occasions. He had also been charged with physically assaulting a man.

In respect of the vote-buying, the charge sheet stated that Sarap had transported at least five individuals from his home, to the polling station in Tõrva municipality, Valga County, and induced them into voting for him by offering them money and alcoholic beverages, ERR reports.

The prosecutor's office had charged Sarap, 41, with repeated physical abuse of his ex-wife, of repeatedly depriving her of her liberty and of repeated violations of a restraining order, in addition to violating a free election.

According to the State Electoral Commission's (VVK) website, Sarap is a sitting Reform Party councilor, in Tõrva rural municipality.

The municipality, which includes the town of the same name, had a population of a little over 6,100 as of 2019. Its southern boundary lies on the Latvian border.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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