Chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) has take inappropriate photos of a minor, Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht reported on Thursday evening. The incident is connected to a family and custody dispute.
Postimees wrote that a parent discovered images of their child in inappropriate poses in the child's smartphone a few years ago on which the minor was naked or only wearing scant clothing.
The daily emphasized that criminal proceedings were not brought against the politician. Even though one of the child's parents found the photos disturbing, the other did not. Postimees' information suggests that while Mihkelson's conduct has been insensible, it does not qualify as a criminal offense.
The paper's editor-in-chief Priit Hõbemägi suggested that a well-known politician's embarrassing secrets provide an opportunity for blackmail, adding that incidents that have taken place in the private lives of Estonia's foreign policy heads could become a national defense matter on the backdrop of the security crisis.
"Because the Republic of Estonia pursues value-based policy, our foreign policy leaders must be beyond reproach," Hõbemägi remarked.
Eesti Päevaleht wrote that the authorities did not find the images constituted child pornography and the proceedings were terminated.
Experts with knowledge of the incident told the paper that Mihkelson's conduct was reprehensible but did not go further than that.
The paper reported that the court agreed with the police and prosecution in that Mihkelson acted in an ethically condemnable manner, and in situations where a child is not aware that nude pictures of them are being taken, the principle of the inviolability of the child's body needs to be observed. But the court also concluded that Mihkelson has realized the seriousness of the situation, apologized and drawn conclusions.
The action between Mihkelson and the child's father was resolved through a compromise the details of which the sides cannot reveal.
Mihkelson: Tangled family relations at the heart of this matter
Marko Mihkelson took to social media to provide an explanation on Thursday evening.
"The incident concerns tangled family relations in their dirtiest form, with a custody battle at the heart of it. Systematic efforts to offer the materials to the media are made by the children's father and his new partner," Mihkelson wrote.
"The custody dispute that went all the way to the Supreme Court culminated in the mother's victory, and the father did not manage to take her children away," he added.
The politician said he has not commented on the incident in public in order to protect the children.
"I have refrained from publicly defending myself to try and protect the children, while I have been forced to provide a detailed explanation of what happened many times in the last three years. The photos have been analyzed by capable agencies and no wrongdoing has been detected. I have ignored my legal counsel's advice to sue the other side over breach of the confidentiality of messages."
Mihkelson also said the board of the Reform Party has been made aware of these events. "Therefore, we cannot talk of security risks or the possibility of someone influencing me in my activities."
Editor: Marcus Turovski
Source: Postimees, Eesti Päevaleht