SBU Setup: Rafael Lusvarghi Was Enticed From Brazil

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Kiev lawyer Valentin Rybin is known for several loud trials of Russian and other foreign citizens. Among his clients are people who were taken prisoner in Donbass and arrested on the “case of May 2nd” in Odessa… Rybin is one of founders of the fund of legal assistance to foreigners of “Odyssey”.

“SP”: What can you say today about the case of the Brazilian volunteer militiaman Rafael Marques Lusvarghi?

“On October 6th, 2016, he was detained at “Borispol” airport … The investigation was very quick and, it is possible to say, super-effective. Because on January 12th, 2017, Rafael was already handed over for indictment. He was transferred from the SBU pre-trial detention center to the Lukyanovka pre-trial detention center. In court there were only two hearings. At the December hearing, the case was considered. And already on January 25th, the sentence was read out. In the Lukyanovka pre-trial detention center he was put in a cell with, to put it mildly, unreliable elements. It is for sure that force was against him. It is precisely because of this that he was compelled to admit his guilt, and to settle for a compromise — for safety reasons. And he was condemned in expedited proceedings.

Participation in the terrorist organization (Part.1 Article. 258−3, provides the sentence from 8 to 15 years) is imputed to him and participation in illegal armed groups (Part.2 Article. 260). Thus, I want to note that prior to the time of sentencing and indictment the investigation established that nobody received material harm by Rafael’s actions, and that nobody in the procedure received physical harm. Moreover, he admitted the deeds, and repented of the deeds … However the court considered these moments insufficient for the purpose of giving him a minimum term. And gave him 13 years.”

“SP”: You say that the Brazilian was pressured…

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“This is confirmed by the fact that also Pechersky regional court of Kiev, on January 25th, besides a sentence, also announced the definition that obliged the administration of the Lukyanovka pre-trial detention center to provide an immediate medical certificate on the fact of physical assault, and also obliged to keep Rafael separately. However he is still being kept with other persons. Already not with the same ones that he was with earlier. But not separately from others. Moreover, a medical examination still hasn’t been conducted. In fact, the physical assault that happened to him around January 16th-19th became more difficult to record. And I am afraid that they intentionally drag it out to not give the chance to record it. We plan to submit an appeal. I consider that to treat the citizen of other country like that is simply inadmissible. And this sentence is too severe.”

“SP”: How can Rafael’s appearance at the capital’s airport be explained — afterwards on the Internet photos of him with Mozgovoy appeared, after Donbass’ TV programmes about him?

“The SBU, however you consider their activity, works at a serious level. After Rafael left Donbass and returned to Brazil, the international company Omega Consulting Group addressed to him. It is engaged in providing work all over the world. Letters came from there repeatedly, negotiations were started. Considering the difficult economic situation in Brazil, Rafael began to consider the work offer of Omega Consulting Group. He was offered to come to Odessa at the expense of the company in order to receive work as a security guard on a sea vessel. He flew to Kiev, there was a need to make a transfer. And he was detained in the airport. So Omega Consulting Group was a setup by SBU in order entice Rafael to Ukraine. And it worked.”

“SP”: Why exactly was he so courted so much?

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“He is special only because he was a citizen of other state who was taking part in the conflict on the side of the LDPR. Raphael is a rather young guy, 1984 year of birth. It’s possible that a number of circumstances played a role: difficult financial position, his rather big passion, and his easygoingness. Probably, “consumer services” [SBU – ed] organized work on this occasion, calculated his personality, studied it … I.e. the SBU worked intricately, playing on his mental specificities and openness…”

“SP”: The quick-shooting of the pretrial investigation, the efficiency with which the trial of the foreign citizen came to an end don’t seem strange to you?

“The quick-shooting is, most likely, connected to the fact that for the consideration of proceedings the minimum term was provided. Moreover, I assume that Ukraine rather quickly carried out proceedings in order to negotiate an exchange with this Brazilian citizen for Ukrainian prisoners in the LDPR. If there is a sentence, the person can be passed through a pardon and released within an exchange. I learned: Rafael is on exchange lists. But considering the position “exchange all for all”, the individual work on the Brazilian’s case still hasn’t even been supposed. There was a probability of a more softer sentence, but the court decided differently. We discuss with Rafael the possibilities of submitting an appeal (legal grounds exist for this) so that the sentence doesn’t come into force.”


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