Tallinn man sentenced to 10 days in jail for signing letter Z at refugees

Zs marked prominently on Russian tanks fighting on Ukrainian territory.
Zs marked prominently on Russian tanks fighting on Ukrainian territory. Source: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine

Police in Estonia arrested a 54-year-old resident of Tallinn who had been harassing people in Tallinn with war-related symbols. The police launched a misdemeanor proceeding against him, and he was sentenced by the courts to ten days in jail for the breach of public order.

Late last month, the 54-year-old man on three different days stood outside the window of a Central Tallinn hotel restaurant, where he traced the letter Z in the air and gestured at war refugees from Ukraine eating inside.

According to Inna Toater, director of the Procedural Services Department at Ida-Harju Police Station, the police are responding to the use of symbols inciting to hatred in public.

"Z insignias and other symbols that support the aggressor do not belong in our public space," Toater said. "Right now, there are more than 27,000 war refugees from Ukraine in Estonia for whom we have to ensure a safe place to be, and both war refugees and Estonian residents alike are understandably bothered when they see such symbols."

The police official stressed that if anyone sees someone spreading symbols related to aggression, they should report this to the police.

"Provocations and the use of symbols for the purposes of provocation are unacceptable, which is why, within the framework of the misdemeanor proceeding, we sought a sentence of ten days in jail from the court for the man who repeatedly and deliberately harassed war refugees."

The court sentenced the man to ten days in jail. The man in question was previously already a person of interest to the police, and has previously been punished for a breach of public order.

Since the end of February, police have received nearly 50 reports of the use of symbols inciting to hatred in public. In ten cases, they have launched criminal proceedings, for both breaches of public order and for property damage.

Possible punishments vary depending on the amount of damages, among other factors.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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