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20.03.2007

Supreme Court releases journalist Volodymyr Lutyev

   

On 15 March 2007 the Ukrainian Supreme Court revoked the sentence passed down by the Sevastopol Appeal Court on the Crimean journalist,  Volodymyr Lutyev. Mr Lutyev was released in the courtroom. With the same ruling, the Court ordered that the case be sent back for a new examination in the same court, but with different judges. The Court hearing took place with the participation of the Human Rights Ombudsperson Nina Karpachova. She supported the arguments presented by the defence lawyer Viktor Ovechkin regarding serious infringements of the Criminal Procedure Code during both the pre-trial and judicial examinations. These including violation of the right to legal defence, the basing of the prosecution on evidence obtained with violations of current legislation, and improper documenting of the protocols of the criminal investigation, etc.

On 12 July 2006, as reported at the time, the Sevastopol Appeal Court, presided over by Judge Yevhen Solovyev, passed sentence on Volodymyr Lutyev, the Chief Editor of “Yevpatoriyskaya nedellya”. He was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment with confiscation of property The court also ordered Volodymyr Lutyev.to pay 100 thousand UH in compensation to the claimant, Mykola Kotlyarevsky. The latter was not present during the Court hearing since he was presently on the police wanted list.

At the beginning of November 2002, the journalist was arrested on suspicion of having organized the murder of Mykola Kotlyarevsky, a Deputy of the Crimean Parliament.

The investigation into this case lasted for several years. In 2003, after protest from journalists’ organizations and the Ombudsperson, the court released Lutyev on a written undertaking not to leave the area, but in May 2005 he was remanded in custody again. He was held in custody from then on.  Many experts and lawyers believed that the case against the journalist who exposed abuses in the law enforcement agencies in his newspaper was set up..

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