Dubious terrorist charge could carry long terms of imprisonment


  The three members of a rightwing organization “Patriot of Ukraine” accused of planning a terrorist attack could face sentences of 5 to 7 years.  Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group considers the case to be dubious.

As reported here, three young men - Ihor Mosiychuk, Serhiy Bevz and Volodymyr Shpara are accused of planning to blow up the monument to Lenin on the town square in Boryspil, Kyiv region.

The Security Service [SBU] assert that at the end of August 2011 they searched the organization’s office in Vasilkiv (Kyiv region) and found a homemade explosive device filled with various screws, etc, as well as “leaflets with extremist content”.  The three men are charged with planning the above-mentioned action on Independence Day, public calls to commit such acts of terrorism and unlawful preparation of an explosive device  The activists say that the items were planted and categorically deny preparing any terrorist attack.

The three have been held in SIZO [a remand unit] for a year.  Mr Zakharov says that they could face up to 7 years imprisonment if the article on terrorism remains unchanged,  

“The case is rather dubious in my opinion. They’re accused of having tried to blow up a Lenin monument in Boryspil, but that monument has long been dismantled, it’s simply not there.”  He points out though that there are very few acquittals in Ukraine, the percentage being less than 0.2.  For that reason he is not optimistic. 

“How many years they get will depend on what article they’re tried under. If “terrorism” remains, then it won’t be for a year or two, but for 5-7. The judge won’t dare to acquit them, particularly since he is hostile towards them. At best, the article will be changed to a less serious one and they’ll get a symbolic sentence. I personally don’t see any terrorism in their actions”.

He is convinced that the case is politically motivated. He believes that since the accused are members of rightwing organizations close to the VO Svoboda Party which is currently trying to get into parliament, the trial is supposed to scare people in those regions where VO Svoboda has most support.

Yevhen Zakharov’s comments from a report here

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