Tallinn Begins To Bang Gavel Over Last Year's Riots

It's been a busy couple weeks for the Estonian judicial system as Tallinn courts have been clearing out lingering cases leftover from last year's riots in the capital. The most high-profile of the related trials is that of four men accused of organising the April riots in which one person died of stab wounds and hundreds were injured. Proceedings began on January 15th with the reading of the indictment and hearing pleas from the accused, three of whom are leaders of Night Watch - a Russian activist group in Estonia, while the fourth is head of the Estonian chapter of the Kremlin-backed youth group, Nashi.

Meanwhile, four others were found guilty and given suspended sentences (ie, slaps on the wrist) for public order offenses including looting, vandalism and assaulting police officers. Those four should be available for civil disobedience when and if their organiser buddies get convicted for their roles inciting the riots.

And lastly, Estonian courts fined a man one year's salary for his involvement in the sustained denial of service attacks against the country's crucial internet systems. Dmitri Galushkevich, a local boy of 20, was fined 17,500 Estonian Krooni ($1,641) Wednesday after he was found guilty of launching an assault on the website of the Reform Party of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Estonian government systems. The fine was the first levied after last year's cyber-attacks.

If you're completely in the dark on all this, civil unrest broke out in Tallinn when city authorities attempted to move a Soviet-era monument from the city centre. Kremlin-encouraged street riots were accompanied by attacks against Estonias internet infrastructure. Several Estonian government websites remained unavailable; others such as that of the Estonian Police were available only in text-only form as a result of sustained denial of service attacks, many of which were powered by networks of compromised PCs. The whole thing cost Estonia tens of millions of kroons. While the attacks were rather unsophisticated, they were labelled as the world's first 'cyber-war' and served as a wake-up call to the potential damage of DDoS attacks.

Though Galushkevich was convicted and fined the equivalent of a year's salary at the minimum wage (a small fraction presumably of what a guy capable of hacking government websites probably makes), his accomplices, the existence of which was established during the trial, remain unidentified and at large.

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