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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 00:02 GMT 01:02 UK
Estonian man on genocide charge
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A former Soviet Communist Party official in Estonia has been charged with genocide for his alleged role in deportations to Siberian labour camps.

Arnold Meri, who is now 88, was a highly-decorated soldier in the Soviet Red Army, and is a cousin of the Baltic state's late President, Lennart Meri.

He is said to have organised the 1949 deportation of 251 civilians from Hiiumaa Island, off the west coast.

Mr Meri has admitted participating, but says he played only a minor role.

Estonia's security police say more than 40 of those deported either died on the way to, or in, the Siberian camps.

Mr Meri said that at the time, he was just a lowly civil servant on the island.

He was quoted in the Eesti Paevaleht newspaper as saying: "It's true that I took part in the deportation action at Hiiumaa, but I am being wrongly accused."

Estonia has been gradually attempting to prosecute those who helped in the deportation of more than 20,000 Estonians to Siberian camps after World War II.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Estonia
01 Aug 07 |  Country profiles

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