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Moscow says other countries’ reaction to Estonian spy case "attempt to politicise" it

August 20, 2015, 21:19 UTC+3
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there was no doubt that the judgment given by the court was "legal and well founded"
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Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, August 20. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it regarded other countries’ reaction to the Russian court decision to sentence Estonian security agent Eston Kohver to 15 years in prison for espionage "as an attempt to politicise" the case.

"We are surprised by the reaction of our foreign partners to the Pskov regional court’s judgement against Estonian national Eston Kohver, who - following a thorough investigation - has been found guilty [of espionage, illegal crossing of the border and carrying of a weapon] under a whole range of articles of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

"Such highlight declarations cannot be regarded otherwise than as an attempt to blatantly politicise this criminal case," Zakharova said, noting there was no doubt that the judgment given by the court was "legal and well founded".

The Pskov regional court on Wednesday found Kohver guilty of espionage, smuggling and illegal possession of arms, as well as of nine instances of illegally crossing the state border. In addition to the prison sentence, Kohver was fined 100,000 roubles.

The prison term will be counted from Kohver’s detention on September 5, 2014.

Kohver, an agent in Estonia’s internal security service, was detained in the Pskov region of northwest Russia for allegedly carrying out an undercover operation on Russian territory.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) reported at that time that a handgun, 5,000 euros in cash, special covert audio recording equipment and materials indicative of a spying mission were confiscated from Kohver when he was apprehended.

Court proceedings started in Pskov on July 27. He has been kept in Moscow's Lefortovo custody centre since last September. The Pskov court held the hearings of his case behind closed doors.

Kohver’s lawyer Yevgeny Aksyonov said the Estonian national would appeal his sentence.

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