Odessa: A Group of Political Prisoners Were Released From Custody for a Future POW Exchange With the DPR

Translated by Ollie Richardson



On December 13th and 14th the courts of Odessa decided to release from custody a number of political prisoners locked away in the Odessa pre-trial detention center…

On December 14th the Malinovsky regional court of Odessa changed the measure of restraint of the accused in the case of attempting to assassinate the people’s deputy Goncharenko: from now on the two accused persons Igor Yankovsky and Viktor Zhukovsky will be under around-the-clock house arrest. The measure of restraint of Aleksandr Lutsenko and Igor Makhinenko was cancelled — they were included in the lists for exchange within the framework of the Minsk Agreements.

During the previous meetings the prosecutor’s office couldn’t prove the earlier brought charges of preparing an attempt to assassinate the People’s Deputy Goncharenko and participation in a terrorist organisation or group, and changed the earlier brought charges. According to the new charges brought to Lutsenko, Makhinenko, Zhukovsky, and Yankovsky, the occupation of State or public buildings and also infringing on the territorial integrity of Ukraine prepared the soil for the creation of paramilitary forces that aren’t provided by the laws of Ukraine.

The measure of restraint of the married couple Aleksey and Elena Vlasenko was cancelled. According to the investigators, they transferred to the authorities of the unrecognised DPR information about the movement of freights on the Odessa railroads. They were also included in the lists for exchange.

One more was released — the citizen of the Russian Federation Evgeny Mefedov. Initially Mefedov was arrested on suspicion of participating in mass riots on May 2nd, 2014. After the court of Ilyichevsk acquitted him in this case, he was repeatedly arrested on charges of separatism. Now Mefedov will be exchanged for government troops captured by the authorities of the DPR: most likely, the repeated arrest of Mefedov was needed in order to keep him behind bars for an exchange. The second person involved in the case on May 2nd, Sergey Dolzhenkov, still remains under guard: there is information that he will also be subjected to an exchange, however this hasn’t yet been confirmed.

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Yesterday, on December 13th, the Primorsky court cancelled the measure of restraint of the Donetsk citizen Semen Boytsov, who is suspected of attempting to kill the Odessan euromaidan protester Mark Gordiyenko. Thus, the Donetsk citizen Miroslav Melnik, included in the same case, was imprisoned, although earlier he expressed the desire to be exchanged for prisoners of war. In addition, Maksim Genko, who is accused of arsons of ATMs in 2014, and Vladimir Dorogokupts, who was detained in 2014 at the railway station when boarding the Odessa-Moscow train, were released. According to the charges, Dorogokupets had saboteur trained in Russia, then returned to Odessa to organise a separatist underground. It is also planned to exchange them for captured Ukrainian soldiers.

In total, according to the available information, 10 of the 38 political prisoners who are in the Odessa pre-trial detention center are subject to an exchange. The destiny of the others so far remains unclear.

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