Justice minister: Early release for traitor Simm morally wrong ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa).
Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) opposes releasing Herman Simm, a former senior national security official found guilty of treason 10 years ago, early, Baltic News Service reports.

Aeg said that his statements did not impinge on judicial independence with regard to Simm, who may be released before the end of the year. Simm's original sentence called for 12 years' jail time.

"Without fear of being accused of influencing a court, I deem it necessary to clearly state that I do not support Herman Simm's early release," Aeg wrote on his own social media account Tuesday.

"This decision would not be in proportion with the nature of the crimes committed by Herman Simm," Aeg continued.

"Herman Simm committed treason against the state of Estonia for 10 years. Over those 10 years, he systematically worked for Russia, which only recently still occupied Estonia, killed, imprisoned and deported tens of thousands of Estonian citizens," Aeg continued.

"The early release of a criminal like this ... would be like spitting in the face of the people responsible for ensuring Estonia's security who apprehended the traitor," Aeg continued, drawing the distinction between moral issues and legal technicalities.

Tartu County Court is to make an announcement on Simm's potential release no later than Dec. 5, BNS reports.

Both Tartu prison, where Simm is being held, and the prosecutor's office, support the release.

Simm is a former chief of the security department of the Estonian Ministry of Defence. He had served in the Soviet Militsiya (military police) in the Estonian SSR, attaining the rank of Pokolvnik, roughly equivalent to that of Colonel in most English-speaking countries. In 2009, he was found guilty of having sold thousands of confidential documents to Russian foreign intelligence service the SVR.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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