Conviction of Estonian Internal Security Service Employee in Russia

Press Statement
John Kirby
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 19, 2015

We are deeply concerned by the conviction and 15-year sentence of Estonian Internal Security Service employee Eston Kohver by a Russian regional court. Kohver was seized in Estonia near the Russian border on September 5th of last year.

His abduction, detention, and now conviction on baseless charges demonstrates a flagrant disregard by Russian authorities for the rule of law, and raises serious questions about Russia’s compliance with its international legal obligations.

We are troubled by reports that Mr. Kohver did not receive adequate legal representation from his attorney, who was appointed by Russian authorities, and that neither the public nor the Estonian consul were permitted to be present during the judicial proceedings.

We call once again on the Russian Federation to act in accordance with its international obligations and immediately return Mr. Kohver to Estonia.