Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The famous French politician Thierry Mariani filed a lawsuit against the Ukrainian activist Maksim Mikhalenko. The reason for this was Mikhalenko’s post on Facebook, which he wrote after Mariani’s trip to Crimea. This was reported by “Strana”, referring to its own sources in Thierry Mariani’s environment.
In a Facebook post on March 19th, 2017, Mikhalenko wrote the following:
“These people (politicians who visited Crimea) must be warned that they at any time can become the victims of the actions of terrorist organisations, which, for example, concerning the liberation of Crimea, prefer actions to words. For example, a certain Thierry Mariani sits in Beaubourg cafe, cheerfully crunches on a lobster, and the waiter behind him drives a cleaver into his back, and leaves a little message on the lobster explaining why this specific person was punished. After all, now it is already warm – the little tables were set everywhere, there is a lot of space… and the trips [to Crimea] will stop”.
For this post Mariani filed a lawsuit against Mikhalenko. Two days ago, on January 16th, in Paris the first court session in the claim against Mikhalenko took place. At the disposal of “Strana” is a photo of the summons to a hearing concerning Thierry Mariani’s claim against Mikhalenko.
Mariani’s testimony was heard at the hearing. He confirmed that he intends to continue his claim against Mikhalenko, because he considers that the threat to his life is serious. According to him, Mikhalenko can actually implement what he wrote: Maksim suggested to kill him not in Ukraine, where Mariani’s entrance is forbidden (just because of that trip to Crimea), but in France, where Mikhalenko can arrive at any time without a visa.
“Mikhalenko didn’t simply abstractly write that there is a need to kill politicians who visited Crimea – he specifically described how it is possible to stab Mariani in the back whilst he dined at a restaurant, which the court of France points to – characteristic signs of a planned murder in the spirit of Islamists against France and other places. Therefore, the attitude to Mikhalenko’s case in France is very serious,” said the source of “Strana”, who is a friend of Mariani and was present at the hearing.
The court recognised the claim as lawful, and submitted the case to the republican prosecutor. Within the next six months the prosecutor must find Mikhalenko and to hand over to him the summons in order for him to come to court to testify.
As currently Mikhalenko’s address isn’t known, the prosecutor’s office must address either to the Embassy of France in Ukraine or the Embassy of Ukraine in France. And if there is no reaction there, and in half a year Mikhalenko doesn’t appear in France, the prosecutor’s office then has the right to make him the subject of an international search. And as soon as Mikhalenko will cross any border of the Schengen area, he will be detained and hand over for summons.
“Of course, Mikhalenko can say that this post is fake, but the French police will be able to carry out the necessary actions to prove that it is his profile and that it is he who wrote this post. Moreover, the fact that he threatened not just some ordinary Frenchman plays against Mikhalenko. Thierry Mariani has been a deputy for almost all his life, he was a minister in the government of Sarkozy twice and the special ambassador of France in Afghanistan during the war. Several laws on emigration are named after him. In general, he is a well-known person. And the fact that Mariani was banned from entering Ukraine because he visited Crimea doesn’t play any role in these judicial proceedings. Because this is not a political case, but specifically about a threat to life. And during a hearing on January 16th the judge didn’t even ask Mariani about Crimea. In general, the case is serious, and Mariani intends to bring it to the end and to achieve the punishment of Mikhalenko,” said the acquaintance of the French politician to “Strana”.
The Criminal Case against Mikhalenko was initiated under Articles number 222-17, 222-44 and 222-45 of the Criminal Code of France – the threat of murdering someone. If the court finds Mikhalenko guilty, he risks 6 months of prison and €7,500 compensation. And recently in France a new law was passed that raises the responsibility for death threats to 5 years of imprisonment and a €75,000 fine.
On Mikhalenko’s Facebook page it is specified that he is the editor-in-chief of the “Newssky.com.ua” Internet publication, in 2010-13 he was a part of the Public humanitarian council under the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, and he describes himself as a “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist”. Also, in one interview he speaks about himself as the organiser of the international voluntary network division “Morfei” and pleaded “to protect the gains of the Revolution of Dignity from mercenaries of the syndicate of Putin on the Internet and, as far as it is possible, outside cyberspace”.
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