Police not to launch proceedings against Tarand based on EKRE report

Indrek Tarand and Martin Helme.

PHOTO: Tairo Lutter

The police will not open criminal proceedings with regard to the actions of MEP Indrek Tarand at Monday's Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) rally, sought by EKRE in a crime report, as the actions did not constitute an attempt to interfere with a lawfully organized public meeting. 

"In the estimation of the police, no attempt at interference with a lawfully organized public meeting took place during the demonstration in front of the Riigikogu on November 26 and there are no grounds to open criminal proceedings on that basis," spokespeople for the Police and Border Guard Board said on Tuesday. 

Referring to the actions of MEP Indrek Tarand, a representatives of EKRE filed a report of a criminal offense with the police, seeking an investigation to be opened on the basis of Section 158 Subsection 1 of the Penal Code dealing with interference with or violent dispersion of a lawfully organized public meeting. 

The police said on Tuesday there were no grounds to open an investigation. Deemed as interference with a public meeting can be an activity aimed at preventing a public meeting from taking pace or affecting its course in such fashion that the shaping or expressing of the meeting's mentality will not be achieved, the spokespeople said. 

"The aim of the actions of Indrek Tarand was not to disperse the public meeting; with his remarks he rather became a participant in the public meeting. Preventing a meeting from taking place and interference with it are not the same thing. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia, every person has the right to express their opinion. While we can question whether such  behavior in the said situation was appropriate, there are no elements of criminal offense in this activity," Kaido Saarniit, head of the police station for Central Tallinn, said in a press release.

The crime report also mentions damage to a microphone belonging to the meeting's organizer during the incident.

"Since the microphone was ripped from Indrek Tarand’s hand, he cannot be accused of causing damage to it, there was no intentional damaging of the microphone," Saarniit said.

"In a situation where a verbal conflict escalates into physical, we encourage residents to always call law enforcement," the officer added.