Interior minister: Nobody can be crucified based on newspaper article

Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher.

PHOTO: Eero Vabamägi

Commenting on reports related to alleged plagiarism in the master’s thesis of Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) chief Elmar Vaher, Interior Minister Mart Helme said on Tuesday that nobody can be crucified on the basis of a newspaper article.

Helme told the „Aktuaalne kaamera“ evening news program of public broadcaster ERR that the accusations leveled against Vaher are very serious. He went on to say that a person cannot be „crucified“ merely on the basis of a newspaper article.

Weekly Eesti Ekspress published an article in its online edition on Tuesday, alleging that the master’s thesis of Elmar Vaher contains plagiarism.

Vaher told the public broadcaster that if his work turns out to be plagiarism, he will leave the post of director general of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. Vaher stated that his master’s thesis does not contain plagiarism and added that he has not left any of the numerous sources deliberately uncited.

„I wrote my master’s thesis on preventing situations posing a threat to constitutional order in light of the Law Enforcement Act that entered into force in 2011. In my work, I cited more than 80 sources and worked through considerably more material. Quality control for me was my supervisor, Tallinn University associate professor of law Ilmar Selge, with whom we discussed both the directions of the thesis as well as various sources. I have not left any of the sources deliberately uncited,“ the police chief said.

Vaher has turned to Tallinn University to get an assessment of whether his master’s thesis, titled „Legal Regulation of Danger Prevention in the Case of a Threat to the Constitutional Order,“ complies with all academic requirements.

On the basis of the application, Tallinn University is to convene an academic committee within three weeks.

The university will not issue any comments before the meeting of the academic committee.