Appeal hearing in controversial Pavlichenko case deferred


Dmytro and Serhiy Pavlichenko

The Kyiv Court of Appeal has postponed until 31 January hearing the appeal lodged by Dmytro Pavlichenko and his son Serhiy against their sentences (life, and 13 years, respectively) over the murder of a judge of the Shevchenkivsky District Court Serhiy Zubkov.  No explanation was given for the delay. 

As reported, there have been protests throughout the country against the sentences passed.  Serhiy Pavlichenko was an active member of the Kyiv Dynamo Ultras and fans have not only come out in support, but have waged a major campaign. 

Many of those who do not support the rightwing political slogans of such groups have winced, yet there remain very strong grounds for concern about this case.

The prosecution claimed that Dmytro and his son murdered the judge  because the latter had passed a ruling on some land against them.  The same judge had, however,  been responsible for many land-related rulings, some doubtless treading on the toes of developers by supporting individuals protesting against development projects in the centre of Kyiv.  He was also facing investigation by the High Council of Justice over other rulings. The ruling which the Pavlichenkos allegedly felt aggrieved over had, in any case, been revoked at appeal stage.  Dmytro Pavlichenko had been extremely vocal in publicly protesting his rights.  

On Tuesday Svidomo reported that Dmytro Pavlichenko had been beaten up in the SIZO [remand prison] after an interview which he apparently gave by mobile telephone was played on the Ukraina TV Channel. 

The two men were arrested three days after Judge Zubkov’ was found murdered outside his own home. The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that it had checked out the possibility of big business interests being implicated and had found no justification for them.

There are a number of features linked with the actual crime which arouse questions.  In an article for Ukrainska Pravda, for example, Kateryna Avramchuk points out that the six people called as witnesses were unable to recognize the Pavlichenkos. The DNA which supposedly incriminates them was not found at the scene of the crime, but on clothing alleged to have been left.  The Pavlichenko’s lawyer, Tetyana Shevchenko says that the number of items apparently left at the scene of the crime to incriminate her clients is suspicious and notes that their positions had, in connection with the court case, been removed from the flat two months earlier.

She adds that the court did not take into account Serhiy Pavlichenko’s statement that his confession was effectively beaten out of him.

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