Estonia's Harju County Court on Monday decided to move forward in prosecuting Edgar Savisaar, Tallinn's suspended mayor and former longtime chairman of the Center Party, as the court found that there was no medical reason not to do so.
"It can be seen from an expert's report published on Monday that there is no basis to satisfy a request made by Savisaar's defense attorney to close the criminal case regarding him due to the defendant being very ill and thus unable able to take part in the criminal proceedings or bear liability," court spokesperson Janar Filippov said in a press release.
In the opinion of an expert committee of the Estonian Forensic Science Institute, Savisaar is able to attend the hearings of the graft case and bear liability in spite of his medical condition. According to the experts, Savisaar must have access to medical care during the hearings and the hearings must take place during short time periods, Filippov noted.
Oliver Nääs, the lawyer representing Savisaar, filed a request at a preliminary hearing on March 21 for Savisaar's graft case to be closed. He also presented Savisaar's medical records as well as the assessments of four doctors to the court. The court found that some of the assessments were based on speculation and on April 11 ordered Savisaar to undergo a forensic medical committee examination.
The court on Monday likewise did not satisfy another request by Savisaar's defense — to close the criminal proceeding in connection with the reasonable proceeding time passing. According to the court, such a request cannot be made during a preliminary hearing and can be made only during the court proceeding.
The Office of the Prosecutor General has brought charges against Savisaar for accepting bribes, money laundering, embezzlement as well as accepting prohibited donations for the Center Party. The same charges have been lodged against Alexander Kofkin, Vello Kunman, Villu Reiljan, Hillar Teder, Kalev Kallo, Aivar Tuulberg, Priit Kutser and the Center Party.
Savisaar's trial is to begin in Harju County Court on June 12.
Editor: Aili Vahtla