Estonian ministry says no clarity over Kohver appeal before Monday

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Photo: Liis Treimann

Whether or not the jailed Estonian security official Eston Kohver is appealing the verdict handed to him by a Russian court will become clear by Monday, the Estonian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

«Today is the deadline for filing an appeal against the verdict rendered on Eston Kohver. A representative of the Pskov regional court has said they can say conclusively whether or not an appeal has been filed on Monday, September 7,» spokesperson for the Estonian Foreign Ministry Mari-Liis Valter told BNS.

Yevgeni Aksyonov, the Russian court-appointed lawyer who represented Estonian security official Eston Kohver in the trial in Russia that ended in a 15-year jail sentence for Kohver, said on Thursday he still has no information about whether or not Kohver intends to file an appeal.

A court in the Russian northwestern regional capital Pskov on Aug. 19 sentenced Kohver to 15 years in jail and fined him 100,000 roubles (EUR 1,375). The court found Kohver's guilt to be proven in espionage, illegal border-crossing, possession of a firearm and smuggling of a firearm.

The prosecutor had sought a 16-year jail sentence for Kohver. The Estonian security official pleaded not guilty.

The court proceeding which started at the end of July took place behind closed doors.

Estonia's Internal Security Service (ISS) said on Sept. 5, 2014 that a member of their staff had been deprived of his freedom on Estonian territory near the checkpoint of Luhamaa on the Estonian-Russian border and taken to Russia by unidentified individuals coming from Russia at 9 a.m. that morning. The security agent, who was performing his official functions related to the prevention of cross-border crime, was taken to Russia at gunpoint using physical force. The abduction was preceded by interference of operational radio communication and use of a smoke grenade from the direction of Russia, ISS said.