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Trial over defenders of the Bronze Soldier in Estonia continue

November 10 2008

The trial of the defenders of the monument to the Liberator Soldier accused of organizing riots in the spring of 2007 in Tallinn, will continue on Monday in the Harju County Court in Tallinn. Regular sessions of the trial will be held 10, 11, 13 and 14 November. Then, after the break, they will continue 10, 11 and 12 December, the press service of the court. At previous meetings of November 3 and 4 the court began the study of prosecution evidence: records of telephone calls, SMS messages and video.

Leaders set up to protect the Bronze Soldier social movement "Night Watch" Dmitry Linter, Maxim Reva and Dmitri Klensky and Mark Siryk, which Estonian authorities called a representative of Estonia in the Russian youth movement Nashi, accused of organizing riots in Tallinn, 26-28 April 2007. Estonian Security Police detained Reba, Linter and Siryk the night of 27 April last year. Mark Siryk was released on parole on June 13, Maksim Reva and Dmitri Linter November 16.

Demetrius Klensky detention was not. According to Article 238 of the Penal Code of Estonia, in the case of a conviction in the organization of mass disturbances they face imprisonment of up to five years. None of the four defendants pleaded not guilty. Estonian authorities on April 26 last year, started digging graves of Soviet soldiers on the Tonismagi, and April 27 to dismantle the monument to the Liberator Soldier, who on April 30 was postponed at the Tallinn military cemetery.

Because of these decisions of the government in Estonia riots broke out. Apart from Tallinn, the excitement spread to some of the city north-east of the country, where mostly Russian-speaking population. During clashes with police were detained 1200 people, injured dozens. Killed a Russian citizen Dmitry Ganin. The trial of the defenders of the Bronze Soldier was launched in January this year and continue into May. Was read 44-page indictment, which contains fragments of e-mails, statements, printouts of telephone conversations Linter Klensky, Reva and Siryk.

The court also heard the testimony of defendants and witnesses. Of the accusations implied that the defendants urged the residents of Tallinn to prevent the dismantling of the Bronze Soldier and, if necessary to stand on his defense, criticizing the authorities have adopted laws allowing to remove the monument from the city center. In addition, they gave interviews to local and foreign media, which explains the meaning of the Bronze soldier for the Russian population of the country and warned that hasty action of the authorities could provoke resentment of Russian-speaking population.

These actions are classified by the prosecutor as "the calls to disobedience to the authorities, to participate in illegal protests, inciting ethnic hatred, incitement to riot." The defense believes that during the April riots main task of motion "Night Watch" was to avoid possible unrest and defendants, by contrast, warned the police and the government that the authorities' actions could lead to unrest. According to the defense, "to the charges there is no moral or legal justification." Were on the court hearings in January, MEPs Tatiana Zhdanok (Latvia) and Sarah Wagenknecht (Germany) described the process of political, aimed at putting pressure on the Russian minority in Estonia, RIA News .

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