MINELRES: Appeal of Estonia's minority NGO

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri May 4 18:38:31 2007


Original sender: Maia Meos <meos.maia@gmail.com>


1 May 2007, Tallinn 
 
Re: criminal charges against an Estonian schoolboy (18), anti-racist
activist 


Dear friends,

We are the leaders of the Russian minority organization Youth Union
SiiN, which is a member of the ENAR(European Network Against
Racism)-Estonia, Estonian National Campaign Committee "All different 
all equal" and UNITED for Intercultural Action  European Network
against nationalism, fascism, racism and in support of migrants and
refugees.

As you may know, 26 April 2007 the Estonian government started a police
operation near the Tonismagi monument, which was erected during the
Soviet time in memory of soldiers perished in the Second World War. It
was situated on the common grave. The plans regarding the removal of the
monument was not supported by the majority of Tallinn inhabitants and by
the city administration. 

It is worth mentioning that the authorities did not give permission to
the monument's supporters to organize a legal meeting of protest on 22
April 2007.

26 April 2007 there were spontaneous demonstrations near the monument.
The police used very brutal means to dispose people, mostly
Russian-speakers. In spite of some clashes with the police near the
monument, people were mostly protesting in peace. However, both
aggressive and peaceful protesters suffered. And only after the
'victory' of the police near the monument numerous acts of vandalism
started in the city of Tallinn. The disturbances took place also next
day and they spread over to other cities, where Russian-speakers were
present in big numbers.

One of the activists of Youth Union SiiN, Mark Siryk, has been a very
active participant of anti-racist work of our organization. He took part
in various public events, especially those aimed at raising of public
awareness. To this end he established contacts with anti-racist
organizations in Russia and in EU member-states. 

For one year Mark has also participated in various peaceful actions of
protest against the removal of the Tonismagi monument. According to the
information in our possession, he had constantly experienced pressure of
the Estonian security services and the police. Nevertheless, Mark
believed that the decision regarding the removal of the monument to
Soviet soldiers would mean glorification of those who had fought
shoulder to shoulder with Nazis during the WWII. He also believed that
it would also mean the victory of radical nationalists, e.g. famous Tiit
Madisson, who organized several aggressive public events against the
monument (and who also published Holocaust-denial 'literature').

27 April 2007 Mark was arrested. He is accused of organizing mass
disorder involving a large number of persons and that resulted in
desecration, destruction, arson or other similar acts (Article 138 of
the Penal Code). He may be punished by 1 to 5 years of imprisonment. The
nature of this accusation is absolutely not clear. All events organized
by Mark in the past were legal. Furthermore, due to illness and
preparing for Friday school exam he was not near the monument in the
evening of 26 April 2007.

Mark Siryk is a schoolboy. He reached the age of 18 only in March this
year. Mark was arrested on his way to school where he was going to pass
a final 'State' civic exam. During the search at Mark's place, the
police confiscated numerous 'evidences', e.g. anti-racist and
anti-fascist literature and a draft of the Youth Union SiiN project
proposal School of democracy, which was funded by the European Youth
Foundation.

Dear friends,

The Youth Union SiiN needs your assistance. 

First, we believe that the authorities should release Mark under the
prohibition on departure from residence. Estonian prisons are anything
but a safe place for a very young intellectual of minority origin. 

Second, we believe that the authorities should waive their absurdist
accusations.  

We would appreciate your letters of support as well as letters of
protest that can be sent to PM Andrus Ansip, a person who has taken the
political decision regarding the Tonismagi monument and who is
politically responsible for the clashed in Estonian cities. 

Our address: SIIN, Narva mnt. 7-557, 10117 Tallinn, Estonia

PM address: HE Mr Andrus Ansip, Stenbocki maja, Rahukohtu 3, 15161
Tallinn, Estonia.

Third, Mart Siryk needs money to pay for legal aid, which is very
expensive. We opened a special bank account to collect money necessary
to hire a good lawyer:

Youth Union SiiN, 
IBAN: EE48 2200 2210 2543 7631, 
SWIFT/BIC: HABA EE2X, 
HANSAPANK, Liivalaia 8, 15040 Tallinn, Estonia

Forth, we would like you to distribute information about this incident
to journalists and anti-racist activists in your country. We are ready
to provide any interested persons with additional information about the
recent developments in Estonia. 

We need your help because in Estonia we cannot organise even a public
action of protest: in violation of the constitutional principles all
public events are banned in Tallinn until 11 May 2007...

Igor Ivanov
Head of the Board
+372 5052241

Maia Meos
General Secretary 
+372 564
77727

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