Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
On September 28th, the latest hearing on the case of the Ukrainian journalist Vasily Muravitsky took place in the Korolevsky district court of the city of Zhytomyr. At the hearing the prosecution was supposed to present the experts whose conclusions form the basis of the charges of high treason against the journalist.
Meanwhile, the experts once again didn’t come to the hearing. Therefore the prosecutor continued to submit evidence to the court that Muravitsky’s lawyers weren’t yet acquainted with. Also, audio recordings of the journalist’s negotiations about custom-made “anti-Ukrainian Internet articles” were heard.
At this time the courtroom was filled with representatives of the extremist organisations “C14“ and “National Corpus“, which came to Zhytomyr in two minibuses from Kiev. Some of them hid their faces with balaclavas. The leader of “C14” Evgeny Karas and his elder brother Vladimir led the radicals. The representative of “C14” Sergey Mazur, who is accused of organising the pogrom of the Romani camp in Lysa Gora in Kiev on April 21st, 2018, also came to Muravitsky’s court hearing.
At the request of the defense of Muravitsky the judge ordered those who had just arrived to take off their balaclavas, and afterwards asked them to leave the conference hall. They, in turn, ignored the request of the judges.
After the judge declared a break in the hearing, representatives of “C14” led by Evgeny Karas exploited the absence of law enforcement bodies in the hall and provoked a conflict with Muravitsky’s lawyer – Andrey Gozhy. As it became clear, the radicals managed to enter the courthouse with knives. The guards of the court later stated that the metal detector simply didn’t react to the bladed weapons.
The clash also injured the Zhytomyr journalist Andrey Loktionov, who representatives of “C14” accused of supporting Muravitsky.
The fight ended with a call to the police and ambulance crew. The lawyer Andrey Gozhy and the journalist Andrey Loktionov were taken away in an ambulance. The lawyer has a suspected brain concussion.
After the fight the court session continued. The judge made the decision to prolong the measure of restraint for Vasily Muravitsky – he will be under house arrest for 2 more months.
The next hearing will take place on October 26th.
After Muravitsky’s court session the radicals from “C14” were spotted near the “ShariKava” cafe in Zhytomyr. There they organised a protest against this establishment. The reason: the placement of a Crimea-less map of Ukraine on their website. After fighting with the employees of the cafe, the right-wing radicals threw smoke grenades into the establishment. The workers and visitors of “ShariKava” had to be evacuated, and firefighters and police officers arrived at the scene.
As a reminder, the Zhytomyr journalist was detained by the SBU on August 2nd, 2017 on charges of high treason, assisting terrorism, and infringing on territorial integrity, for which he risk 15 years of imprisonment. After spending 11 months later in a pre-trial detention center, on June 27th, 2018 the court softened his measure of restraint to around-the-clock house arrest.
Vasily Muravitsky’s case is being continuously monitored by the human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta”.
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