Court weighing up release of Aivo Peterson from custody

Aivo Peterson's defense lawyer Mati Senkel at court on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.
Aivo Peterson's defense lawyer Mati Senkel at court on Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Source: Dmitri Kulikov/ERR

The second-tier Tallinn Circuit Court has on Wednesday been discussing a request submitted by lawyers acting for a candidate at the March 5 Riigikogu election. The candidate, Aivo Peterson, has been in custody since March 11 on suspicion of acting against the Estonian state; his lawyers are appealing for his release.

Peterson ran in the Ida-Viru County electoral district on March 5, polling at 3,969 votes and narrowly missing out on winning a seat, but had been making pre-election campaigning videos from on the ground in the occupied Donbas region of Ukraine, and which toed a pro-Kremlin line.

ERR's Russian-language portal reports that the court is to make a decision next week.

The Internal Security Service (ISS) arrested Peterson and two other men on March 11, on suspicion of fostering relationships harmful to the Estonian state, while court hearing shave been declared closed at the request of the Prosecutor's Office.

State prosecutor Kati Reitsak said "At the moment, this information cannot be shared with the media," in releatoin to the nature of charges against Peterson, or when he will be charged.

Peterson ran on the United Left Party (EÜVP) list; candidates from the Koos/Vmeste movement of which he is one of the leading lights had been folded into the EÜVP list.

The party/ies went after the Russian vote in Ida-Viru County, many of whose major town are majority Russian-speaking, and also took advantage of the continuing ebbing in support for the Center Party in a region which had traditionally been one of its heartlands.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

Source: ERR Novosti, Sergei Mihhailov

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