Trial of Vradiyivka police officers begins
The preliminary hearing was held on Thursday in the trial of three men, two of them police officers, charged over the brutal rape of Iryna Krashkova from Vradiyivka who was left for dead after the attack. Attempts at the time by the police to shield one of the officers prompted a huge crowd to storm the police station and led to protests throughout Ukraine.
The court on Thursday scheduled the first hearing into the charges of rape and attempted murder for 8 October. The detention order on all three defendants was extended.
The defendants are two police officers and a taxi driver. During the hearing on Thursday, the BBC reports that the defendants’ lawyers denied that their clients had raped Ms Krashkova, and said that they had not been in the taxi that night.
Iryna Krashkova was raped and savagely beaten on 26 June, after leaving a local discotheque. She managed to drag herself to the town and was taken to emergency care.
She named her assailants as two officers of the local police station. One was arrested, together with the taxi driver who apparently did not take part in the rape, however the other – Yevhen Dryzhak – claimed that he had been on duty that night.
Local residents say that both officers’ actions have been known for a long time, and a huge crowd stormed the police station where they believed Dryzhak was being shielded by colleagues.
There were initially threats of criminal proceedings against the protesters however the level of outrage and publicity over the case far beyond Ukraine led to Dryzhak also being arrested.