Annus: KAPO, prosecutors’ office putting undue pressure on judges

20.06.2012, 14:00

Read below the scathing announcement of Toomas Annus, one of Estonia's richest businessmen, criticising KAPO and prosecutor's office that he made after he was acquitted in the land-swapping case.

Judge Valeri Lõõnik of the first-instance court said that the key reason for acquittal was the fact that surveillance proceedings during the investigation including phone taps and searches violated the legal norms, including the protection of the basic rights of individuals, delivering a direct slap in the face to the national security agency KAPO and the public prosecutor’s office.

Following the verdict, Toomas Annus, owner of Estonia’s largest construction company Merko Ehitus who was charged for large-scale bribery, made a statement in which he said:

“I would like to turn your attention to developments surrouding the courts and judges in Estonia. The last couple of years have proven that law enforcement authorities are influencing our judges in their decisions. This is a fact that is known to many.

For me as a long-term suspect the courage of judge Lõõnik that he demonstrated is extraordinary.

We know that minister of interio affairs Ken-Marti Vaher and KAPO chief Raivo Aeg have both made attempts to influence him through media.

One can only imagine what has been the actual pressure on judges from law enforcement agencies and their cronies.

I would also emphasise that last week another judge, Leo Kunman, was finally acquitted in another case. He is the man who dared to withstand the pressure of law enforcement agencies, and was “rewarded” by a criminal case against him and years in court defending himself.

Estonia has entered an entirely new era. The prime minister says in public that active people are being eavesdropped. I really hope that judge Lõõnik will not be punished for deciding to ignore the orders he received from above.

I am sure that we will shortly be able to read in the newspapers articles mocking judge Lõõnik. This is part of the revenge of law enforcement agencies, the authorities who have a duty to defend us and protect the national security.

Today I and my lawyer Leon Glikman will start preparing for a second-instance court hearing. I have information that representatives of law enforcement agencies have been preparing for that for some time already. Their objective is to ensure that the case would be head by judges who take orders.

I call up all judges and all other honest civil servants not to give in to pressure from KAPO and prosecutor’s office. This could be in the form of blackmail, this could be a threat or incentives, an invitation to have coffee. Influencing judges is a dangerous road and submitting to pressure means an end to rule of law.

Twenty minutes after the judge announced his ruling, the prosecutor’s office said that they are going to appeal. This is surprising self-confidence from an authority that has not even read the full ruling and has caused huge damages to the nation with its evil and political incompetence and robbed the suspects the best years of their life.”

Lawyer Aivar Pilv who defended Villu Reiljan added:

“We have questioned the legitimacy of surveillance activities in this case from the start. There have been too many questionable activities, too many mistakes and in our opinion, too many issues that can be deemed illegal. This has been one of our key claims from the start that surveillance had been conducted unprofessionally. The law must be obeyed and it must be possible to credibly check that it has. In my opinion, we are lacking in this part in Estonia right now.”