The fact that 85-year-old political prisoner Mekhti Logunov went on hunger strike in protest against legal arbitrariness, said the deputy of the Kharkov City Council Andrey Lesik on December 23rd. He became aware of what was happening by the lawyer Dmitry Tikhonenkov, who is defending the most senior political prisoner of Ukraine.
Mekhti Logunov, given 12 years of prison for “state treason”, has been starving since December 18th. It is understood that prolonged starvation at his age amounts to death. Andrey Lesik wrote on Facebook: “The administration of the pre-trial detention center in no way responds and does not recognise this fact.”
Apparently, on the eve of the prisoner exchange, a confession of guilt was demanded from Mekhti Logunov as a prerequisite for a pardon. He categorically refuses to do so. And maybe it would be time for the guarantor of the constitution [Zelensky – ed] to explain to his servants who are authorised to deal with exchange processes that for a pardon it is not necessary to personally write a petition and humiliate oneself in front of a government that fabricated one’s case. And if something happens to a 85-year-old prisoner of conscience, the president’s father will tell the public how the not comprehensible “biomass” did not understand his son’s noble impulses…
Elena Berezhnaya, Director of the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection named after Irina Berezhnaya, explained on social networks all these legal conflicts: “In the run-up to the exchange of held persons, I ask all those who are ready for the exchange to demand their complete acquittal! At the stage of the pre-trial investigation, this is the issuance of an order to close criminal proceedings, and at the stage of trial – the statement of the prosecutor on the refusal of the charges!
According to these procedural documents, a decision is immediately made – and the accused person is acquitted! Do not allow situations like the exchange of Kirill Vyshinsky and Evgeny Mefedov, where the case wasn’t closed. And after the exchange they became wanted persons! On the sentences that have entered into force, let the application for a pardon be submitted by the authorised person of the Verkhovna Rada, and not the convicted!”
Kharkov political prisoner Igor Dzhadan (seen in the picture below, on the right), who was released from a pre-trial detention center on bail this year, spoke about some of the nuances of the upcoming prisoner exchange and notorious legal cleanup.
“They’re using this moment to turn the case in a way that benefits them. Throughout my imprisonment there was the same problem: they tried by hook or by crook, by putting their people in a my cell, by exerting pressure, jailing ‘in a hole’, etc., to beat these confessions out of me. Now there’s a good reason, this prisoner exchange. For them it’s an ‘argument’. In reality it’s not an argument because for this there is no need of my confession.
They can convict me in five minutes, via an order from above. But in my case, when there is no sentence yet under any article, the most reasonable and legitimate way from the side of the prosecutor’s office is to refuse to support the prosecution. So then, under the relevant article of the Criminal Procedure Code, the case is closed by a court decision. How they will actually act – we will see,” said Dzhadan.
He notes that in the case of Logunov, the situation is different: there is already a sentence from the first and second instance. Therefore, Mekhti can be pardoned without his confession and even without his application for pardon. There are relevant precedents in both Russia and Ukraine, when applications for pardon were written by either relatives or people such as the former Ombudswoman of Ukraine Lutkovskaya.
“In response to the severe pressure of the administration, which set criminals on Mekhti, who have already threatened to kill him, then to douse him with boiling water, etc., humiliated in every way, he went on hunger strike,” continues Igor Dzhadan. “Including in response to the illegal demand to confess his guilt. He does not consider himself guilty, so he is not going to write a petition on the basis of some procedural considerations that can be resolved in a completely different way.
Ukraine has undertaken not to prosecute those who go for an exchange and to carry out their legal acquittal (cleaning). So, let them to do this cleaning – this does not mean that prisoners should be bullied in the pre-trial detention center by such sophisticated methods, with special cruelty. And we have already experienced these brutal methods – sending snitches to the cell, the people who received the task to beat. This is completely unrelated to Ukrainian obligations to Europe.”
Dzhadan also said that on December 24th political prisoners in pre-trial detention center No. 27 received holiday parcels from indifferent fellow citizens. “The backbone among those people who donate to ‘heating’ are Orthodox. Today is the last day this year when parcels are accepted in the pre-trial detention center. This is another petty act that pre-trial detention center bosses have done for all prisoners, not just political prisoners. Tomorrow, No one will be able to hand over anything.”
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