General Prosecutor of Ukraine is trying to deprive of license one of the lawyers in the case of May 2
Lawyer Valentin Rybin, who defended the Russian citizen Evgeni Mefyodov in court in the case of riots and deaths on May 2, 2014 in Odessa, may lose his right to professional activity.
Rybin reported this on his Facebook page publishing a document signed by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko. As noted in the document, the prosecutor’s office appealed to the Higher Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of the Bar to appeal against Rybin’s actions. The lawyer himself called this step of the prosecution an attempt to “shut the mouth” to a disagreeable lawyer.
In Odessa, Court announced the verdict in the case of May 2: all defendants (activists of Kulikovo Field) are subject to acquittal due to the lack of evidence.
Earlier the court rejected the evidence presented by the prosecution, recognizing it as either questionable or unacceptable.
“There is no evidence to support the prosecution’s accusation. Moreover, the prosecution did not even try to prove the guilt of the defendants, “the judge read in the decision.
Why did the court acquit all the accused in the case of May 2, Odessa?
[and then re-arrested some of them]
(excerpts from an opinion piece)
On September 18, the city court of Chernomorsk put a semicolon in the case of activists of the Odessa “Anti-Maidan” detained on charges concerning the riots on May 2, 2014. All without exception, the defendants were found not guilty and released from custody – however, some of them were immediately arrested again on a different charge.
[…] Among the numerous plump volumes of the case, which ended up in the court, the real evidence turned out to be ridiculously scarce.
Take for example videotapes that form an important part of the evidence. For example, to prove Mefedov’s guilt [Mefyodov], the court was shown a 40-second recording, in which a group of people with Ukrainian symbols were brutally beating a person lying on the ground. And only then, for three seconds, a man appears in the frame, looking vaguely like Mefedov, who just walks down the street. And this is the record that the prosecution presented in all seriousness as evidence of Mefedov’s participation in the riots.
[…] Most prosecution witnesses also presented almost nothing of interest. For example, ex-deputy head of the regional department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Vyacheslav Tashmatov claimed that he was indeed a witness of mass riots where activists of both “Kulikovo Field” [anti-Maidan] and “EuroMaidan” actively participated. He also admitted that he had seen Sergey Dolzhenkov [one of the defendants] on the scene, although he could neither confirm nor disprove Dolzhenkov’s leadership in the actions of activists of “Kulikovo Field”. The testimony of “Euro-Maidan” activist Ruslan Boldizhar was even poorer in terms of the facts: he could not identify any of the suspects at all.
[…] Another witness of prosecution, Pozmichenko, identified all the suspects and claimed that he saw that they all had violated the law and taken part in the riots. However, the testimony of Pozmichenko in court was somewhat indistinct: he would confuse details, contradict what he had said before, and refuse to answer clarifying questions under the pretext of ill-health.
[…] Exactly at the moment when the judges finished announcing the acquittal [, representatives of the prosecutor’s office accompanied by the SBU entered the courtroom and began to hand in to the defendants charges of having committed a new crime – under art. 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (i.e. for separatism).
[…] Authorities, apparently, decided to choose the lesser of two evils: the court was allowed to make an honest verdict, and moreover – not to be shy in its expressions, blaming the prosecution in everything [the 3-year delay in adjudicating the case].
[…] Two of the five acquitted defendants remain in the jail – now on a new charge. These two are the same Dolzhenkov and Mefedov, who were the main villains in the picture painted by the state prosecution.
The prosecutor’s office files an appeal against the verdict of the lower court. Evil tongues claim that it has every chance of being satisfied, after which the case will return to the court of first instance – somewhere in the outskirts of the Odessa region, away from the media’s gaze.
But most importantly, since the defendants are innocent, the question remains: who should answer for the death of 48 people on May 2, 2014 in Odessa?
New violations in the case of May 2: It turns out that there was no examination of the bodies of some of the dead on May 2
The new materials of the criminal proceedings on the case of May 2, attached to the case at the request of the prosecutor, contain a huge number of procedural violations that exemplify the overall quality of the investigation in this case.
Of particular interest are the results of forensic medical examinations of the victims. First, the experts did not examine the victims, but instead studied the medical documents provided to them not clear how, by bypassing the current criminal procedural legislation. Secondly, one of the experts, namely Derkach, does not appear in the roster of experts of the Ministry of Justice, that is, can not conduct any examinations. Thirdly, the Odessa Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination did not have the right to conduct any expert examinations, since according to the law of Ukraine “On Forensic Expertise”, only state specialized institutions have the right to conduct forensic medical examinations, to which the Odessa Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination does not belong.
In particular, it turned out that the bodies of a number of the dead in and around Greek Square were not examined at all by experts. The latter worked only with certain “investigation files”, carried out by an unknown individual(s) (certainly not experts who would be carry responsibility for false conclusions) on the orders from the district department (!). And the examination as such was scheduled after the bodies were given out to relatives for burial, so experts in their work had to rely on documents. It is unclear who compiled these documents and how the experts got them. This is a blatant violation of the procedure foreseen by the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine and, in the opinion of the lawyers of the victims, makes these case materials generally unfit for use in court.
The period of detention was extended for the so-called “communist terrorists,” suspected of organizing a series of explosions in Odessa in 2014-2015, for another 60 days
It is noteworthy that for the past six months, there have been no other hearings in the case except for the hearings on the extension of the detention as a preventive measure. The last attempts to hold a meeting on the merits of the case took place in February-March 2017. Then in April, Terzi and Labunsky, judges of the Primorsky Court, were removed from their duties. Terzi was presiding over this case. He was replaced by Judge Poprevich, who, apparently, is not eager to reach justice in this case. Since then, hearings have been held approximately every two months, and the only issue that has been discussed has been the extension of the terms of detention.
The next hearing is scheduled for September 25, and probably, it will also consider only this one issue.
[see earlier posts on the details of the case]
The criminal proceedings concerning the murders of Kulikovo field activists on the Greek square and in its vicinity on May 2, 2014, have not been inactive for more than two years.
Criminal proceedings in the case of mass riots in the center of Odessa on May 2, 2014 were opened on the same day. In May, in the summer and early autumn of 2014, active investigative actions were conducted, witnesses were interrogated, photo and video materials were collected, etc.
In October 2014, this criminal case was divided in two separate cases: the first one dealt with materials in connection to the actions of Kulikovo field activists, which led to the death of two activists of “Euromaidan”, while the second – in connection with Sergei Khodiak, suspected of killing a Kulikovo Field activist Yevgenia Losinsky. In the future, any activity of law enforcement officers was concentrated around these criminal proceedings, but no one even tried to search for murderers of three more activists of the Kulikovo field, killed on the Greek Square on May 2, 2014.
Currently, there are no suspects in this criminal proceeding. According the sources of Timer, no investigative actions have taken place since 2015.
Mukacheve district court of the Transcarpathian region released on bail from the jail activists of the “Right Sector”, accused of the shooting in the city of Mukachevo in 2015.
As the press service of the “Right Sector” reports, the court released the defendants of the case on bail paid by the mayor of Skole (Lviv region) Vladimir Moskal and MP Mikhail Golovko.
On July 11, 2015 in Mukacheve, a fire broke out between the fighters of the “Right Sector” and police. In the course of events grenade launchers and heavy machine guns were used. After the battle, fighters of the “Right Sector” retreated into the forest, taking a child as hostage when they retreated. The operation to catch the criminals ended with nothing: armed activists fled through the police cordons and left the Transcarpathian region. However, four participants of the events (Sergey Deyak, Roman Munchak, Vladimir Burcha and Rodion Gorbenko) could not escape from the scene and were detained by law enforcers.
As a result of the shootout, 14 people were injured: six police officers, three civilians and five representatives of the “Right Sector”.
As a result of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office qualified the incident as a terrorist act and sent an indictment against the four members of the volunteer corps of the formation to court.
In early November 2015, the activist of the “Right Sector” Sergei Deyak, who is accused of participating in armed clashes with the police in Mukachevo, was released from jail. Deyak was arrested in Mukachevo immediately after the events. On November 6, the term of his detention expired, the court did not renew the measure of restraint, due to which Deyak was released from custody and has officially at the moment no restrictions on the right to move. Thus, all defendants of the case are now at large.
The Ovidiopol court sent home the activist of EuroMaidan Sergei Khodiak, who participated in a mass brawl in the Raduzhny residential complex on May 15 and, among other things, beat a police officer.
Note that the prosecutor’s office demanded to place the activist in custody without the right to release on bail. However, Khodiak’s comrades, activists of Euromaydan who were present at the scene of the events, demanded that their comrade not be detained at all, and the court preferred not to contradict them.
Two Odessa judges paid the price for the condemnation of “Euro-Maidan” activists
The judges of the Primorsky Court of Odessa, Vladimir Labunsky and Igor Terzi, were suspended from their duties by the decision of the High Council of Justice (GSP). The complaint against their actions was filed by the activist of the Odessa “Dem-alliance” Kirill Filimonov. In particular, he considers unlawful the decisions of the judges to impose administrative responsibility on the activists of Odessa “Euromaidan” in November 2013. We remind that the court banned a rally of “Euromaidan” activists on Primorsky Boulevard, but Odessa activists refused to obey by this decision and to remove their tent city. On the night of October 25, police officers and public service workers “helped” them to implement this decision. However, after the victory of Euromaidan, activists decided to remind the judges of their former grievances, and the Supreme Council of Justice considered their claims to be justified. Now the judges Terzi and Labunsky are threatened with dismissal – however, this decision still has to be approved by the main court of the High Council of Justice. In the meantime, the above-mentioned judges have been suspended from their duties.
Everything from the very beginning: the case of prisoners of Odessa and Nikolayev has been “traveling” through courts for a year now.
For more than a year now, the case of six residents of Odessa and Nikolayev, accused of preparing and committing acts of terrorism has been “hanging” in court, and no one can see the end of the judicial examination: now the case was transferred to the Kiev District Court of Odessa, where it will be considered from scratch.
Six citizens of Ukraine – Ruslan and Vladislav Dolgosheya, Nikolay Kazansky, Oleg Mazur, Nikolai Selyatenko and Vadim Shved – were detained by the SBU on July 5, 2015. They are accused of preparing and committing a number of explosions on the territory of the Odessa and Mykolaiv regions. The indictment was transferred to the Primorsky Court in March 2016, but since then the case has not progressed much.
Twice the court returned the case to the prosecutor’s office to eliminate errors and inaccuracies. The already rare sessions of the court were repeatedly disrupted because the the accused would not be brought in from the jail as well as due to the absence of the prosecutor. As a result, for more than a year the judges of the Primorsky Court have not yet begun to study the evidence of the guilt of the accused. In fact, the court sessions were limited only to continuous extension of the terms of detention in the jail for the accused.
On February 21, the Odessa Region Court of Appeals was supposed to consider the case of an activist of “EuroMaidan” Sergei Khodiak, suspected of murder during clashes in the center of Odessa on May 2, 2014.
The system of automated distribution of cases distributed an appeal in the case of Khodiak to the panel of judges Zheleznov, Gridina and Mandrik, but later it turned out that Zheleznov (presiding judge) had his credentials expire. This became known only on February 20, and the board was replaced by a new one – the system assigned the case to Cadegrob, Pribylov and Kopitsa. Obviously the new board did not manage to get acquainted with the materials of the case in such a short time, and it was decided to postpone the meeting to April 19. In addition, we note that the prosecutor did not attend the meeting.
Sergei Khodiak’s accusation refers to the fact that on May 2, 2014 he shot at activists of the Kulikovo Field in Odessa. It was at the hands of Khodiak that activist Yevgeny Losinsky died. In addition, several other people, including the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Dumskaya.net” Oleg Konstantinov and one of the policemen, were injured.
The pre-trial investigation in Khodiak’s case was completed in February 2015, after which the materials were sent to court. Despite this, the judges were not able to begin to consider merits of these materials -in particular because activists of EuroMaidan are actively hindering the process, believing that Khodiyak should not be judged for the murder of “separatists” but instead rewarded for it.
Unlike the activists of “Kulikovo Field” who are being tried in the case on May 2, Sergei Khodiyak was not detained and took an active part in actions of the Odessa “Euromaidan” – in particular, he participated in the persecution of the relatives of the victims the events of May 2.
On February 16, Malinovsky district court of Odessa began an announcement of the indictment against 20 activists of Kulikovo field for the second time.
Despite the fact that the victims did not appear at the hearing (according to the indictment, there are 29 of them), and the defenders repeatedly insisted on the mandatory presence of those, the judges decided to still hold the session with the given turnout. At the same time, the defense drew attention to the fact that the materials of the case do not contain information on the proper notification of the victims. The new lawyer of the accused Russian citizen Evgeny Mefyodov, Valentin Rybin, filed an application for the allocation of materials in relation to the accused in a separate proceeding. He was supported by other defenders and accused. The prosecutor was against, saying that this step, in his opinion, was premature.
After hearing the parties, the judges refused to satisfy this petition and went on to discuss the issue of disclosure of the indictment. Almost all the participants in the process called for an announcement in abbreviated form, however, the accused Dolzhenkov spoke in favor of the full reading of the indictment, which was supported by the court (the prosecutor Dudkevich began to announce the accusation).
We remind that the accused in the May 2 case are 20 activists of the Kulikovo Field movement who are charged with “participating in mass riots accompanied by violence, destruction of property, resistance to representatives of the authorities with the use of weapons and other items that were used as weapons, which led to deaths and other grave consequences” (Part 2, Article 139 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). In December 2014 the appellate court decided to send the case to the Malinovsky District Court for consideration (previously it was considered by the Primorsky District court), where it was withdrawn in January 2015. The announcement of the indictment began in June 2015, the charge was announced in full, but then, because of the illness and the replacement of one of the judges, the participants in the trial insisted on considering the case from the very beginning (on Dec. 2, 2016, the collegium decided accordingly).
A group of public individuals and journalists, leading an investigation of the bloody riots on May 2, 2014 in Odessa, announced the impossibility of predicting the dates of delivery of sentences in this case.
This organization (known as the “May 2 Group”) sent a relevant statement to the media, noting that out of 100 court hearings in the Malinovsky district court of Odessa for the last two years, “only 20 were devoted to the study of evidence,” and the rest were either disrupted or postponed due to non-appearance of parties. In addition, experts complain that, condoned by law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, activists of right-wing groups often block the courtroom of the Malinovsky Court, thus exerting pressure on the judges.
The statement of the “Group of May 2″ reads as follows: “The manifestations of such pressure should include the actions of the prosecutor’s office, which opened criminal proceedings against judges. Beginning on December 2, 2016, the case was stopped and will be started again. It is not yet possible to forecast any timeframes for continuing the hearings and, even more so, the delivery of sentences. This violates one of the basic principles of a fair trial – the consideration of a criminal case within a reasonable time, a violation which is expected to end with claims made to the European Court of Human Rights against Ukraine.”
It is also noted that the events in the Malinovsky court on February 10, when activists of the “Right Sector”, Azov Corps and Automaydan fought with the police and when not one activist was punished as a result for illegal behavior, showed that “the situation finally reached a dead end.”
“This can not continue indefinitely. We can not allow the information vacuum around the pre-trial investigation of the criminal case of mass disorders [May 2, 2014], coupled with unprecedented pressure on the court, to become another reason for manipulating public opinion of the people of Odessa and influencing the political situation on the eve of the third anniversary of the Odessa tragedy, “emphasize experts in the group.
In this regard, the group demanded that the regional leadership of the National Police ensure an elementary public order during court hearings in criminal cases related to the events of May 2 in Primorsky, Kiev and especially Malinovsky district courts of Odessa.
We remind that on February 16 Malinovsky Court of Odessa began announcing the indictment against 20 activists Kulikovo field for the second time.
“Communist terrorists” have been held in custody without a trial for two years now:
Another court hearing failed in the case of four Odessa citizens suspected of organizing a series of explosions in Odessa in 2014-2015: the only thing the judges could do was to extend again the term of detention of the accused.
Catherine Foteva, Eugene Podmazko, Alexander Shevtsov and Igor Udovenko are accused of being involved in the organization of most of the explosions that raged in Odessa in 2014 and 2015. Members of the group were detained on April 1, 2015, and have been behind bars since then.
On February 15, a court session could not take place because two of three lawyers of the accused Catherine Fotiyeva could not attend it due to the illness. Therefore, the court could not consider the merits of the case and limited itself only to the extension of the term of detention for the accused.
At the same time, one of the lawyers, Kirill Shevchuk, pointed out that the court had no right to consider even this issue: it violates Foteva’s right to defense. When Judge Terzi rejected the lawyer’s objection, the latter announced the challenge of the judicial board. However, the judges, having conferred, decided that Shevchuk’s demand was not to be satisfied.
After that, the court went over to the question of the measure of restraint for the accused. The term of their detention would expire on February 20. If the court did not determine a new measure of restraint by that day, the accused would have to be released from the jail. The representative of the prosecutor’s office said that the term of detention should be extended: they say there are risks that the accused will try to hide or will exert pressure on the investigation, and in general, according to the new norms of the Criminal Procedure Code, there is no other measure of restraint for political prisoners other than detention.
The lawyers of the defendants, in turn, demanded not to keep their clients behind bars: they rightly pointed out that over the past two years the state prosecution had not produced any evidence of the guilt of the so-called “communist terrorists” or the actual grounds for keeping them in jail.
As a result, the court predictably decided to leave the accused in custody for another two months. It is worth noting that for almost two years of proceedings, the case has not particularly advanced: the court did not even finish the procedure of announcing the indictment, let alone examine any evidence. However, when arresting defendants in April 2015, the SBU assured that they had already confessed everything – although today the “communist terrorists” deny their guilt.
A nationalist Victoria Zavirukha, who is accused of involvement in the robbery of gas stations in Kiev in May 2015, was released on bail of 1.6 million hryvnia.
The bail for Zavirukha was paid by a businessman Alexei Tamrazov. Zavirukha and four of her comrades (Andrei Romanyuk, Evgeny Koshelyuk, Nikolai Mnishenko and Danila Sytnikov) were arrested in the summer of 2015. They are accused of armed robbery of gas stations in Desnyanskiy district of Kyiv on May 4, 2015. In the course of the robbery, the attackers wounded an employee of the gas station in the hand, and then, after escaping prosecution by law enforcement officers, they killed two and wounded three more police officers.
The indictment against the activist of the Odessa “Euromaidan” Sergei Khodiak was again returned to the prosecutor’s office in order to eliminate the existing inaccuracies and shortcomings.
It is worth noting that the appellate court has already recognized the indictment in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code and canceled the previous decision of the Kiev district court of Odessa to return the document to the prosecutor’s office (the act was sent to the Kiev court for examination on the merits). However, the panel of this court, presided over by Judge Ivanchuk, despite the decision of the Court of Appeals of the Odessa region, nevertheless acted in defiance, apparently wishing to get rid of the scandalous case, which the Primorsky, Malinovsky and Suvorov district courts had already disowned. We add that the Kiev district court has not been able to accept the indictment for consideration for about a year now.