No grounds for remanding Gangan in custody
The Zamostyansky District Court in Vinnytsa has rejected an application made by the Department for Fighting Organized Crime to take Mikhail Gangan whose extradition is sought by the Russian authorities into custody again.
The court took account of the fact that the Russians detention at the beginning of January had involved infringements of established procedure. Nor had there been any need for his detention since even the Russian court which had sentenced Gangan in 2004 [at that time it was a suspended sentence – translator] had given him a positive character reference.
Gangans lawyer, Ludmila Romanyuk said at the court hearing on Wednesday that her client had lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights asking that he be declared a political refugee. She considers that his chances are good since in her words Strasbourg has passed such decisions in the case of two other members of Gangans party who took part in the Meeting of those in dissent during the May 2007 Russia-EU Summit in Samara.
The prosecution also acknowledged that Gangan presented no danger to Ukrainian society. The Department for Fighting Organized Crime said that his detention had only been because he was only the international wanted list.
They discounted the possibility of any direct contact between the law enforcement agencies of Vinnytsa and Samara.
Gangan maintains that he would face not only three years imprisonment, but also physical violence if extradited to Russia. One of his fellow party activists Yury Chervochkin was beaten to death recently and Gangan has also received threats of physical reprisal.
As already reported, on 11 January the Vinnytsa Regional Court of Appeal revoked the Zamostyansky District Courts initial ruling to hold Gangan in custody, and released him.
Mykhail Gangan is applying for political asylum in Ukraine.