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Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

20:15:32
18/03/2017

Written by Dmitry Vasilets


In 24.11.2015, the journalist and human rights activist Dmitry Vasilets and his colleague Evgeny Timonin were arrested by employees of the security service of Ukraine. They were accused of informational terrorism and put under arrest, which has lasted to this day – already 16 months!

The court sessions are conducted mainly with the aim of every two months prolonging detention with the most severe measure of punishment for people whose guilt cannot be proved, because in Ukraine, there is no recognized terrorist organizations. The accused are journalists who haven’t ever held a weapon in their hands, no victims are involved in their case. Witnesses in this case confirmed what they are accused of, which in reality the suspects didn’t do.

Dmitry Vasilets is a media-human rights activist, journalist, public activist, and speaker of the public movement, “Media-lustration”, author, and presenter of the programs “Museum of Information War” and “What the media is silent about” on 17 Channel. He is also the First Deputy head of the public council under the Ministry of Information Policy.

Dmitry Vasilets and Evgeny Timonin are suspected of complicity in terrorism because they went only once in July, 2014, to the Donetsk region for three days to objectively cover the events in the East of the country, but since the talks weren’t successful, they returned to Kiev. During a year and a half prior to his arrest, Dmitry Vasilets tried to prosecute the media for lies, manipulation, and inciting hatred among citizens of Ukraine.

Dmitry Vasilets and Evgeny Timonin have already been behind bars for 16 months because of conflicts in Ukrainian legislation that allow to keep people illegally in prison just because of the terrible wording of the article used for the charges!

  • The investigation lasted 5 months (24.11.2015 – 20.04.2016).
  • The decision where to consider their case lasted 3 months (11.05.2016 – 04.08.2016).
  • The hearing of the case lasted nearly 8 months (04.08.2017 – 12.03.2017), during which:
    • In 4 months 15 witnesses were heard, most of which are irrelevant to the case.
    • The witnesses were heard in 5 court sessions, and 7 sessions were devoted to extending the measure of restraint, and many times the hearings were closed and the court abolished.During 4 months the hearing of the case should have taken place. But no meetings were held! In nearly 4 months 7 meetings were scheduled, and only one of which actually took place, in which the preventive of restraint was extended, and 6 other meetings were canceled by the court.On 14.03.2017, the case was transferred to the court of appeal of Zhytomyr to determine the new place where the case will be considered, because in Berdichev court, where it was heard, there are not enough judges to form the collegium. The case was transferred to Andrushevsky court, Zhytomyr region, and at the same time, the determination of jurisdiction was given to the Supreme Court. The case will be heard again!

      On the next day, 15.03.2017, the judges of Andrushovsky court already received the case materials and made an urgent meeting with the aim to extend the measure of restraint. The lawyer pointed out multiple violations of law and their illegal actions, read the dismissal of judges, but there was no reaction. The most severe measure of restraint – detention in custody was illegally and arbitrarily extended for another 2 months – until May 12th, 2017.

Thus, it is clear that the courts, by all means, don’t want to take responsibility upon themselves for illegal convictions – they cancel hearings, they resign, in every way delay the case, transfer it for reconsideration, just to avoid being responsible. The intervention of the Prosecutor’s office and SBU was noticed more than once – they: brought the suspects by themselves when they were ill after the escort refused to bring them from jail; influenced the court’s decisions so that the suspects, by any means, are not released, because if they are the SBU’s influence will be minimal and they will not be able to receive repentance and recognition of guilt. Article 258 part 3 of the Criminal Code, with which Vasilets and Timonin are accused, has a part 2, which provides for the closure of the case with non-rehabilitating circumstances, i.e, there is a need to repent and to “contribute to solving the crime” — to testify against “the organizers”. And it is precisely this repentance that they demand, as well as testimonies that will be dictated by them. It is this that the SBU of Zhytomyr spoke about to the lawyer Svetlana Novitskaya in the hallway of Berdichevsky court, and added, with a sneer, “or they will rot in jail”

 

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