Parliament frees some judicial victims, ignores others
Ukraine’s new leaders have passed a decree releasing not only people facing prosecution over the last three months’ protests as political prisoners, but also the Vasilkiv “terrorist” prisoners and the Pavlychenko father and son. Delight at their release cannot remove doubts about this use of the legislative, and not the judicial branch of power. Concerns also arise because other cases have been ignored, including the three young men accused of the Zaporizhya Church explosion, Dmitry Reva and others.
The decree orders the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General's Office to ensure that the criminal proceedings against all people on the list are terminated.
Dmytro Pavlichenko and his son Serhiy had been sentenced to life and 13 years respectively, accused of killing Kyiv judge, Serhiy Zubkov, supposedly because the latter had passed a ruling on some land against them. In fact, however, that ruling had been revoked at appeal stage, making the impugned motive extremely unconvincing. The same judge had also 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.
There were an enormous amount of question marks over this case, and a lot of grounds for believing that the prosecution’s evidence was falsified.
The men’s sentences led to huge demonstrations throughout the country organized by fans of the Kyiv Dynamo Ultras of which Serhiy was a member. .
Vasylkiv “terrorist” trial
Ihor Mosiychuk, Serhiy Bevz and Volodymyr Shpara were convicted in January this year of plotting to blow up a monument to Lenin which had already been dismantled. The three men, all of whom have young children, had been held in custody for well over two years.
The charges and the trial were farcical. Even if the monument they had allegedly wanted to blow up had still been there, classifying this as terrorism was truly stretched. There was also an intercepted phone call which demonstrated that the Security Service knew that the men were aware that the monument had been removed.
There was in fact no proof of anything except that the men were members of the far right “Patriot of Ukraine” yet the court sentenced them to 6 years imprisonment.
In searches of the men’s workplace, homes and a hostel where one of them was registered, but did not live in August 2011, the SBU allegedly found:
2 leaflets, one of which the men acknowledged was theirs and one which they said had been planted. The latter expressed determination to eradicate all monuments to Ukraine’s totalitarian past - a sentiment shared by many, the author included, who find the men’s political views thoroughly repugnant. The disputed leaflet ended with a threat to turn their “righteous anger” against the president, Viktor Yanukovych if he didn’t comply with their demands to totally destroy all monuments to the totalitarian past, and a call to “patriots” to unite in acts of disobedience and to learn about military and explosives issues. This was not found even by the specialists called in by the SBU to contain any call to commit an act of terrorism or overthrow the constitutional order.
A “bomb” which the men were adamant had been planted, and which did not hold any fingerprints or DNA traces of the accused. The investigators refused to ascertain who the fingerprints found on the alleged bomb did belong to. This purportedly dangerous explosive device was carried out of the flat by an SBU officer without any precautionary measures, and without explosives experts having been called in. It was later destroyed during an examination making it impossible to check whether it had in fact ever contained explosives.
More details can be found at: Dismantled Lenin Monument makes Vasylkiv terrorist trial a farce
There was confrontation and entirely gratuitous violence by Berkut riot police following announcement of the sentence, with former Interior Minister and then political prisoner, Yury Lutsenko being badly beaten.