Men accused of attacking MEP at EKRE picket to appear before court

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 two men, charged by the prosecutor with aggravated breach of the public order for their treatment of MEP Indrek Tarand (independent/Greens-EFA), are to appear before court in May. They are accused of having attacked Mr Tarand during an EKRE rally against the UN Migration Compact outside the Riigikogu in November 2018.

The first hearing in the case is set for 10 May. The North district prosecutor's office has charged Meelis Osa, 58, and Mart Rieberg, 56, of aggravated breach of the public order by using violence.

Mr Tarand was filmed from multiple angles being bundled away at an EKRE rally opposing to the UN Global Compact on Migration on 26 November last year. The Compact faced its vote in the Riigikogu that day. Mr Tarand, running for the Social Democratic Party (SDE) in the then still upcoming March general election, was shoved off a podium he had mounted, and after an exchange of views with supporters of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), a scuffle ensued during which he fell over and was kicked at least once.

According to the charges, Osa and Rieberg kicked Mr Tarand, who escaped without injury.

Alar Lehesmets, senior prosecutor at the North District Prosecutor's Office, said that using violence to defend one's opinions is not acceptable. "Everyone has the right to demonstrate, and the square outside the Riigikogu on Toompea Hill is the most appropriate place to speak one's mind. Everyone has the right to do that, and nobody should have to fear that they might be attacked for articulating their thoughts," Mr Lehesmets said.

The criminal investigation was carried out by the North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and supervised by the North district prosecutor's office.

The offence in question is punishable with either a pecuniary punishment or up to five years' imprisonment.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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