Ukrainian “C14” Neo-Nazis Disrupted a Court Hearing on the Case of the Journalist Pavel Volkov

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Today, on January 21st 2019, a regular court hearing concerning the case of the Zaporozhye journalist and prisoner of conscience Pavel Volkov took place.

The hearing was scheduled for 14:00, but in fact began at 15:30. By 14:00 five people came into the hall, two of who were in camouflage. When asked to introduce themselves they replied by saying that they are from a public organisation and just want to listen. Then one of them introduced himself as the deputy head of the C14 organisation. Some of them noted that they are soldiers of the ATO.

Literally a few minutes later they started to behave aggressively, calling all those present, including lawyers and representative of the International Society for Human Rights (IHR) who came to monitor the process, “separs” [a more pejorative version of “separatists” – ed], “vata” [a more pejorative version of “vatnik” – ed], “Kolorads”, and “traitors”. They threatened to annulate the advocacy certificate of the lawyer Svetlana Novitskaya for defending “separs” and they chanted towards her: “suitcase, train station, Russia!”.

The relatives of the accused were told that a dossier on them was being collected, were threatened with the transfer of their personal data to third parties, and also to write a denunciation against them in the SBU. The activists started to call other organisations – namely Azov, Right Sector, etc – with a request to come to this hearing and the next one, because according to them “there is no one to resist here”.

After a while two more people arrived. They told the Prosecutor to relinquish the case, then the Prosecutor suggested to the lawyer Svetlana Novitskaya to call the police. While law enforcement officers were travelling to the courthouse, the OSCE, the UN, and the IHR central office, where written complaints will be filed in connection with the pressure being put on the participants of the criminal process, were informed about the disorder. Upon the arrival of the police, statements were made about the obstruction of advocacy and threats to “deal” with Svetlana Novitskaya, as well as a statement about threats made towards other persons who were present.

During the hearing, the activists endlessly entered and exited the courtroom and loudly commented on what was happening. One of the comments was dialogue between the activists: “What, it’s impossible to stage an execution without a verdict? Too bad.”

During the hearing the evidence of the prosecution was considered in the manner proposed by the Prosecutor. The lawyers V. Lyapin and S. Novitskaya drew the court’s attention to the fact that some of the documents under study are such information that contains a secret protected by law, but the head of the collegium noted that the parties will argue about this during the debate, and now the court cannot make any procedural decisions.

Thus the studying of the evidence proposed by the prosecution continued. Then the lawyer V. Lyapin filed a motion for the recognition of the search protocols and the evidence derived from them as obviously inadmissible evidence, since the search occurred in violation of a number of procedural rules, in particular the right to defence – P. Volkov was explained his rights only 9 hours after his arrest and the search. The video of the detention and the search of the accused published on the official website of the SBU was shown as proof. After returning from the deliberation room, the court decided to dismiss the lawyer’s motion. The full text of the resolution with the explanatory part will be presented on January 25th.

During deliberation, the activists of the “C14” continued their provocative actions, insulted those present, filmed the participants of the process without permission in order to post the footage in the public domain.

After the hearing, which ended at 17:15, they left the courthouse and waited at the entrance for the accused, his relatives, and lawyers. However, the police present did not allow provocative actions to happen and ensured the safety of the participants of the process.

All hearings previously scheduled for January and February have been cancelled. The next hearing will be held on 26th February 2019.

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