Translated by Ollie Richardson
The Kiev district court of Odessa decided to put behind bars for 60 days the Russian Evgeny Mefedov, who was acquitted on September 18th on the case of riots on Grecheskaya Square on May 2nd, 2014. This was reported by the correspondent of TIMER from the courtroom.
Mefedov, as well as the second charged “Kulikovo member” Sergey Dolzhenkov, is accused of separatism (Article 110 of the Criminal Code). The essence of the charges is approximately same: according to the investigators, Mefedov and Dolzhenkov organized a motor rally along the Odessa-Nikolaev road on the date of the liberation of Nikolaev, thus hatching separatist plans.
While the events in question took place in March, 2014, criminal proceedings on the fact of these events were opened only in 2015, and all this time Mefedov and Dolzhenkov were involved in the case as witnesses. However, after the city court of Ilyichevsk acquitted them in the case of May 2nd, the SBU and the Prosecutor’s Office presented to them charges in a new case.
Both Dolzhenkova and Mefedov were placed in a pre-trial detention center for 60 days before trial. Thus, Mefedov couldn’t use the services of a lawyer: he was defended by the free State defence. Mefedov claimed that this violates his right to a defence, however the court rejected these statements.
Now they are accused of making separatist appeals during the Odessa- Nikolaev motor rally on March 28th, 2014, devoted to the liberation of Nikolaev from fascist aggressors. According to the investigation, the fact this date was chosen testifies to the evil intentions of Dolzhenkov and his comrades against Ukrainian statehood.
Among the separatist appeals that were allegedly sounded by Dolzhenkov during the rally were the chants “Forward, Slavs, Russians, forward!” and “Glory to hero-Olshansky!” (a reference to the group of the Senior Lieutenant Olshansky, the disembarkation of which at the Nikolaev port became the beginning of the operation to liberate the city), etc.
The Prosecutor’s Office asked the court to put Dolzhenkov in custody as he is accused of a serious crime, and also, according to the charge, he may influence the witnesses, destroy proof, etc. In addition, according to the Prosecutor’s Office if Dolzhenkov remains free, he can cause riots, after all, the decision to acquit the accused in the case of May 2nd already led to riots outside the building of the Ilyichevsk city court.
The lawyer of Dolzhenkov asked not to put her client in custody. In particular, she noted that Dolzhenkov was illegally detained by SBU employees and the Prosecutor’s Office, which doesn’t have the appropriate authority to do this. As a matter of fact, the lawyer noted that the event in question, took place in March, 2014, whereas criminal proceedings were opened only in January of the 2015. Moreover, in fact investigative actions began only in November, 2016, and during all this time the investigation found no tangible evidence of Dolzhenkov’s guilt. In particular, the protocols of reviewing videos don’t contain references to concrete separatist appeals, the interrogated witnesses also don’t say anything of the kind. In this situation, according to the lawyer, Dolzhenkov can’t physically destroy any proof or influence any witnesses.
Moreover, the lawyer of Dolzhenkov specified that the actions of her client should be considered according to revised Criminal Code that was in effect at the time of the act that he is accused of committing. And as of March, 2014, Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine prescribed punishment in the form of imprisonment for a period of 4 to 6 years, i.e. it belonged to crimes of average weight.
Besides this, the lawyer noticed that the investigating authorities actually kidnapped Dolzhenkov, without reporting his location to the lawyer, i.e. her, and that she learned incidentally that her client had been taken to the Kiev court. Moreover, the charges were handed to him by the fighters of the special troops of the SBU, who didn’t have proper authorization.
The prosecutor Bogomolov, representing the State prosecution, said that nobody kidnapped Dolzhenkov, and his compulsory delivery in the Kiev court under escort of SBU special troops was not detention, but evacuation from Ilyichevsk court, where Dolzhenkov was threatened allegedly by danger. Commenting on the statements of the lawyer – that the statements attributed to Dolzhenkov aren’t separatist appeals, Bogomolov noted that “a respectable citizen of Ukraine won’t begin to shout ‘Forward, Slavs! Russians, forward!’”
A letter signed by the head of the regional management of the police Dmitry Golovin was read out in court, in which he asked to consider the case as soon as possible in order to avoid mass riots. The activists of nationalist organizations who were present at the courtroom added that in the event that Dolzhenkov will be released, they will judge him by the Lynch law, and responsibility for this will lie on the judge.
Having left the consultatation room, the judge Tonkonozhenko announced the decision: to place Dolzhenkov in a pre-trial detention center for 60 days without the right to bail.
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