The trial of eight former KGB officers and policemen from the ex-Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic opened on Tuesday in the Palace of Culture in Kuressaare, the main town on the Estonian island of Saaremaa in the Baltic Sea.
Estonian citizens Heino Laus, Vladimir Kase, Viktor Martinson, Avgust Kolge, Rudolf Sissak and Russian citizens Pyotr Kilsy and Stepan Nikeyev have been charged by the Saaremaa court with "crimes against humanity." In particular, they are accused of being involved in the "organisation and deportation of 475 local residents to Siberia in 1948." In an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti, Moscow lawyer Vakhtang Fedorov, who is defending Stepan Nikeyev, said, "the position of the defence is unchanged: as in previous and in future trials, my clients are not guilty as their actions, in my view, do not fall within the scope of the Criminal Code of the current independent Republic of Estonia and, according to preliminary evaluations, 'their crimes' have not been proven." The Moscow lawyer also said that Russian citizen Pyotr Kisly would be defended by head of the Baltic office of the Russian Foundation of Lawyers, Alexander Kustov. The foundation's regional headquarters are based in Tallinn.