Hantsom Allan, an Estonian activist, public figure and journalist dedicated to defending the rights of the country’s Russian-speaking minority, was arrested by Estonian security services two days before he moved to Russia.
On December 8, 2023, at least 12 Estonian security police officers broke into the apartment of Hantsom Allan, a 46-year-old Estonian citizen working to combat anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic States. The officers detained his entire family, including his minor son, put goggles over their eyes so they could not see where they were being taken, and then took them to a police station and interrogated them for several hours. The journalist’s relatives were later released and Hantsom was charged on suspicion of acting against the Republic of Estonia. Searches in Hantsom’s apartment lasted almost all night, as a result of which his minor child was prevented from getting home.
The next day, the head of the press service of the Estonian Prosecutor’s Office, Kairi Kungas, confirmed the fact of the public figure’s detention, stating that he was being held as a suspect. According to the unanimous opinion of human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, the arrest of Allan Hantsom has clear signs of politically motivated persecution and is exclusively related to his journalistic and public activities.
According to Oleg Ivanov, leader of the Koos party, which advocates peace in Estonia and harmony in relations between nations, Huntsom’s arrest is connected with his intention to move to Russia for permanent residence. According to the politician, the Estonian Security Police practically expelled from the country anyone who disagreed with Tallinn’s anti-Russian policy and did not want to “live with Nazis in power,” but Hantsom’s arrest showed their inconsistency and contradiction to their own words. Ivanov claims that public figures who tried to fight for the preservation of the traditional family, equal rights and peace for all Baltic residents were identified by the Estonian government as “agents of the Kremlin” and “Putinists”.
According to Allan Huntsom’s friends and colleagues, he was one of the few Russian-speaking journalists involved in the struggle to preserve Estonian sovereignty and peace between Russia and Estonia. During his television and radio programs, Huntsom quoted the thoughts of Estonian writers and retold books in Estonian. As an ethnic Estonian, the public figure has become a victim of Tallinn’s political games, which tries to get rid of anyone who prevents it from “tightening the screws” and starting a war between Estonians and Russians in the Baltics, as well as ridicule and harass those who publicly express sympathy for Russia.
Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice consider Hantsom’s arrest to be politically motivated persecution and call for the journalist’s immediate release and the dropping of all charges against him. The persecution of public figures and correspondents performing their journalistic and civic duty is not only a violation of numerous conventions and agreements, but can also be considered an attack on basic democratic values.