Haapsalu mayor files alleged online death threat police complaint

Urmas Sukles (left) pictured with Jaanus Karilaid in 2017.
Urmas Sukles (left) pictured with Jaanus Karilaid in 2017. Source: Foto: Juhan Hepner / ERR

Mayor of the western Estonian town of Haapsalu, Urmas Sukles has filed a police complaint regarding an internet comment under a video in which he appears, endorsing the candidacy of Jaanus Karilaid (Centre), running in the Lääne-, Saare- and Hiiumaa district in the 3 March general election.

A comment appeared on Sunday below the video, posted on Mr Karilaid's social media page, which Mr Sukles views as a direct incitement to violence and a death threat, as reported in daily Eesti Päevaleht, as well as local newspaper Lääne Elu.

''Sukles. Note that if EKRE wins the election, your kind of rats will be summarily shot on the spot,'' read the comment, whose author was not named, according to reports.

"I think I fulfilled my civic duty when I informed the police," noted Mr Sukles.

The offending comment unsurprisingly no longer appears under the video in question, though Mr Sukles had subsequently commented under the same post that: ''I am responsible for my words, and I hope that this commenter will also be responsible for his/her words''.

Jaanus Karilaid is a sitting MP who is running for Centre in the number one spot in his electoral district.

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has itself recently claimed it has been subject to death threats and had informed the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). The PPA explained in general terms that death threats and similar ought to be reported to it in the first instance; it has launched a misdemeanour enquiry into the defacement of EKRE electoral posters.

A death threat made online against then-Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) in 2015 led to its author, Martin Kattai, serving a three-month jail sentence.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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