Appeal to the Participants in the EU-Ukraine Summit on 25 February in Brussels
We are writing with respect to the planned EU-Ukraine Summit on 25 February and repeated statements from high-ranking EU representatives that the Summit will be raising the issue of selective justice in Ukraine.
This is indeed a serious problem at present and EU close attention and unwavering stand are vital. .
We would therefore draw your attention to one case which, while not so obviously politically motivated, bears many of the same hallmarks as the prosecutions of Tymoshenko and Lutsenko.
There are grounds for believing that the inalienable right of three young men to a fair trial is being violated as the result of the specific features of the case. The day after a bomb exploded in the Svyato-Pokrovsk Church in Zaporizhya on 28 July 2010, President Yanukovych appeared on television ordering the heads of the law enforcement bodies to catch those responsible effectively within the week. Less than a week later the Interior Minister announced just as publicly that the crime had been solved and the criminals remanded in custody. Two and a half years later the three young men remain in detention, and though there is a widespread belief that they had no connection with the crime, virtually nobody expects an acquittal. The latter would mean that the police had unwarrantedly received awards for their record speed in cracking the crime and would in fact mean that this case which the President had taken under his personal control had not been solved. The President would therefore be annoyed.
Three young men, two former sacristans of the Church and the elder brother of one of them have effectively become hostages of a promise made to the President.
The case has involved very serious irregularities, with one of the latest being the revision of the indictment to remove the part of the impugned crime for which all three defendants have an alibi. .
Two expert assessments from authorized institutes effectively corroborated the allegations of all three defendants, finding that they had been placed under enormous psychological pressure. The judge then ordered a third which obligingly found that there was no psychological pressure. Translations of some of the transcripts from the interrogations can be found here. We believe that these render the opposite view expressed by the last expert disturbingly untenable
Given the very serious concerns over this case, and the destructive effect on Ukrainian society of any trial whose outcome is widely seen as connected with factors unrelated to the guilt or innocence of the defendants, we would respectfully ask you to raise this issue at the coming summit. We would ask you to stress the need for a full investigation into all irregularities in the case and the allegations by all defendants that their confessions, now retracted, were given under both physical and psychological pressure. It would be particularly helpful if you could stress that the three men’s guilt has in no way been established, and that there is no reason to believe that the public would be endangered by choosing a different restraint measure, not associated with detention
Thank you for your attention.
Zynoviy Antonyuk, former political prisoner
Oleh Levytsky, Defence Lawyer
Myroslav Marynovych, former political prisoner, Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University
The full list:
Зиновій Антонюк, колишній політв’язень
Олег Левицький, адвокат