Blogger Who Criticized Russian Orthodox Church Given Political Asylum in Estonia

19 October 2012 


Source: HRO.org (info)

· Karelia  · Freedom of speech  · Freedom of conscience

Agora Human Rights Association reports that the Republic of Estonia has granted Maksim Efimov (Yefimov), author of the text "Karelia is tired of priests" and chair of the Youth Human Rights Group, political asylum. Agora Human Rights Association has been representing the interests of Maksim Efimov in court. 

Maksim Efimov has told Agora Human Rights Association: "The Estonian authorities recognised that my criminal prosecution was political in nature and that I am being persecuted in Russia for my political views and beliefs."

As well as political asylum, the blogger has also been given a three-year residence permit. Efimov noted that Estonia has received nearly 80 requests for political asylum this year, a correspondent for the Open Information News Agency reports.

"About 10% have been granted. It's not many. I have been the only refugee from Russia this year," Maksim Efimov said.

According to Efimov, scientists from Russia, the USA and Poland sent letters to the Estonian authorities in his support, and his application for political asylum was supported by human rights organisations in Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Ireland and the USA.

"The president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves shook me by the hand and said he was glad that his country had granted me temporary political asylum since they respect freedom of speech and freedom of expression in Estonia", human rights defender Maksim Efimov wrote. “President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves shook me by the hand and said he was glad that his country had granted me temporary political asylum since they respect freedom of speech and freedom of expression in Estonia."
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