Two charged with attack on MEP Indrek Tarand ({{commentsTotal}})

MEP Indrek Tarand (back to camera, blue coat with fur collar) surrounded by protesters at an EKRE-organised rally in front of the Riigikogu on Monday. 26 November 2018.
MEP Indrek Tarand (back to camera, blue coat with fur collar) surrounded by protesters at an EKRE-organised rally in front of the Riigikogu on Monday. 26 November 2018. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The North District Prosecutor's Office has lodged charges against two men in connection with an alleged attack on Indrek Tarand, MEP (independent) last November.

The men, in accordance with legal protocol identified by first name-only, Meelis, 58, and Mart, 56, are charged with committing a violent act against Mr Tarand outside the Riigikogu on 26 November, 2018, spokespersons for the prosecutor's office said, according to BNS.

The prosecutor's office has sent materials arising from the criminal investigation to the relevant court, it is reported.

Alar Lehesmets, senior prosecutor at the North District Prosecutor's Office, noted that using violence to defend one's positions is not acceptable. 

"Every person has the right to demonstrate, and the square in front of the Riigikogu at Toompea is the most appropriate place to speak one's opinion. Every person shall have that right, and nobody need fear that they might be attacked for speaking their minds," Mr Lehesmets said.

The incident took place during a protest against the UN's global migration compact, and was attended by protestors who were to be addressed by the leadership of the Conservative people's Party of Estonia (EKRE), which opposed the compact.

Mr Tarand, who ran for the Social Democratic Party (SDE) in the 3 March election, was present, as were other leading SDE members, some of whom dialogued with individual protestors.

In an incident filmed from multiple angles, Mr Tarand attempted to address the crowd via a microphone the EKRE leadership had set up, together with a podium, for its own use. After speaking a few words Mr Tarand was pushed from the podium and the microphone wrestled away from him. In the ensuing scuffle he fell to the ground and was kicked at least once, as well as having his sunglasses removed. He was then escorted from the scene by security personnel.

Both parties demanded an apology for the incident; when none was forthcoming, Mr Tarand proceeded to take EKRE to court. The latter had already filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office, stating that it believed Mr Tarand to have been under the influence of either alcohol or drugs at the time the incident took place.

The criminal investigation was conducted by the North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and supervised by the North District Prosecutor's Office.

Editor: Andrew Whyte



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