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20 Dec, 2006 07:39

New twist in “Estonia” ferry sinking case

New twist in “Estonia” ferry sinking case

In September 1994 the ferry “Estonia” sank en route to Stockholm, killing 852 people on board. Now the Estonian government has released sensational statements on the results of parliamentary investigation.

A series of investigations have been carried out since, with the most recent one being presented by the Estonian parliament ahead of the upcoming March election.

Evelyn Sepp, the Deputy Chairperson of the Constitutional Committee, has given weight to what previously was considered to be only a rumour – that along with its passengers, the ferry could have been carrying secret weapons and electronic equipment purchased by Sweden from the USSR.

“If officials could have given false evidence while their actions had led to the death of almost 900 people, someone has to take on political responsibility for that. If those kinds of shipments were made with their permission, this is enough reason to start criminal proceedings and deprive them of immunity from prosecution – these people must leave the parliament,” declared Ms Sepp.

The main accusation is put forward against Mart Laar, who at the time was Prime Minister, and who is aiming for the seat once again.

During the presentation of the investigation report, Estonia’s ex-Foreign minister Trivimi Velliste began arguing with Sepp. A week ago Mr Velliste acknowledged that he knew about the transportation, although now he denies his statements. “Miss Sepp’s accusations are absolutely false. This is just another point in her political agenda. I never knew of any special shipping in September 1994,” Mr Velliste said.

Sweden has suggested covering the site of the crash with a cement sarcophagus, but many of the relatives of those who died think this would bury the truth about their loved ones forever. “The relatives are still hopeful, and now they received more support for their hopes,” Ms Sepp said.

Although the new report doesn’t uncover the mystery behind the catastrophe, it appears to give further reasons for a new investigation and hope to grieving relatives.