Varro Vooglaid, Markus Järvi and the Foundation for the Protection of Family and Tradition (SAPTK) have finally won a court case against political scientist Florian Marcus Hartleb and do not have to pay him damages. However, Hartleb is required to pay Vooglaid €300 for calling him a "fascist."
In December 2018, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) organized a demonstration in Tallinn's Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak) opposing Estonia's accession to the UN's global migration framework. In the view of EKRE leaders, accession to the framework would lead to Estonia being obliged to accept a certain amount of immigrants.
During the demonstration, a conflict broke out between the protestors and political scientist Florian Marcus Hartleb, who was pushing a pram at the time. Hartleb was not only with his child, but also his partner and the child's mother, Teele Holmberg, and Kadri Napritson-Acuna, all of whom were connected through the political party Eesti 200.
In addition to the ensuing conflict, Hartleb called various people at the demonstration, including members of the anti-immigration movement "Soldiers of Odin" and Varro Vooglaid, who spoke at the event, "fascists."
Varro Vooglaid and Markus Järvi later published their views of the events on the SAPTK-run portal Objektiiv, mainly claiming that the actions of Hartleb and his associates at the demonstration were a political provocation.
In 2019, Hartleb and Holmberg went to court, demanding that Vooglaid, Järvi and SAPTK retract their earlier statements and pay €110,000 in damages. Vooglaid in turn, made a counterclaim against Hartleb for calling him a "fascist."
On Monday, the Estonian Supreme Court upheld the circuit court's earlier ruling, that Hartleb was not entitled to receive damages, and that he must instead pay Vooglaid €300 for calling him a "fascist." The court also rejected most of Hartleb and Holmberg's additional appeals, requiring only one of the claims made on the Objektiiv website to be redacted.
The costs of the legal proceedings were largely borne by Hartleb and Holmberg, who were initially represented by Robert Sarv and later by Karmen Turk and Maarja Pild.
Editor: Michael Cole