Memorial exposes Russia’s cynical con in trial of ‘Ukrainian nationalists’
Klykh demonstrates one of the torture marks on his leg
Stanislav Klykh, one of the two men held illegally in Russia and now on trial, has formally refused to communicate with the court in Russian and has been provided with an interpreter. Judging by the latest Caucasian Knot report, however, it seems unlikely that either Klykh or Mykola Karpyuk are required to do much more than sit in their cage and listen. On Nov 18, for example, the court read out forensic medical reports on the bodies of Russian soldiers killed at the end of December 1994. This is what the jury is being asked to listen to, without any attempts having been made first to prove that the men were in fact in Chechnya at the time. There is ample evidence that neither man had ever set foot in the Russian republic. There are also grounds, as the authoritative Memorial Human Rights Centre has indicated in three detailed analyses, for doubting the entire story. Memorial has been monitoring grave human rights crimes committed in the course of Russia’s two Chechen wars and is very well-placed to assess the allegations made. Thus far, it’s assessment has been damning.
Memorial HRC, which is currently facing a major offensive from the Russian authorities, has published the third part of its analysis of the charges against Karpyuk and Klykh.
Having obtained harrowing confessions from the two Ukrainians about horrific acts of torture and murder of Russian soldiers, Russia’s investigators did not charge them with these crimes. Not because they forgot them. Quite the contrary: the alleged crimes are described in horrific detail numerous times in the indictment, will be read out in court, yet do not form part of the charges.
It is a diabolically clever move, particularly since Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh are being tried by a jury whose members are being fed a diet of fictitious, but memorably horrific details of crimes the men’s lawyers cannot even refute.
Russia is claiming that the two men are Ukrainian nationalists who, as members of the organization UNA-UNSO [Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian National Self-Defence] fought against the Russian army on the side of Chechen independence fighters at the end of 1994 and beginning of 1995. The men were held incommunicado for long periods, with Klykh only able to see a lawyer of his choice after 10 months in detention, and Karpyuk after almost a year and a half.
Both men retracted their so-called ‘confessions’ as soon as they had contact with a lawyer, and both have given detailed accounts of the torture they say was inflicted in order to obtain the testimony.
Memorial HRC also considers that “a comparison of the testimony about crimes against captured soldiers with external independent sources give us grounds to assert that at the preliminary investigation Klykh and Karpyuk were forced to give false testimony against themselves and other Ukrainians accused of military involvement on Chechen territory.”
The allegations of a grave crime that the men are not charged with are repeated, almost verbatim, on the following pages of the indictment (pp. 20, 31-32, 85, 133, 144, 198, 246, 257, 379, 383, 440, 492, 496, 553, 605, 609-610, and 666).
Memorial HRC even quotes these accounts, stressing, however, that this is done only in order to be able to analyse the allegations and compare them with other documents. In the testimony from Karpyuk, Klykh and Alexander Malofeyev, the Ukrainian who was already serving a 23-year sentence in a Russian prison, the men are ‘confessing’ to absolutely monstrous crimes.
They are not charged with them, which means that the prosecution will be able to read the allegations out, with no opportunity for the men and their lawyers to refute them, cross examine, etc.
Memorial provides many cogent reasons for doubting the allegations based on supposed ‘confessions’, but none is more convincing than the fact that ALL 19 men known to have been held captive (by Chechen fighters) were freed between Jan 13 and 16, 1995, alive and without injury.
Karpyuk and Klykh’s lawyers have called on Ukraine’s leaders to gather information which can easily prove that the two men were quite simply not in Chechnya at the impugned time.
A special role in this squalid case can be played by Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk. He is accused by Russia’s Investigative Committee of also fighting in Chechnya at the time. All on the basis of the same ‘testimony’.
More details here:
Please write to the men - even a single sentence or two will send an important message both to them, and to the Russian authorities, that they are not forgotten.
The addresses: Mykola Karpyuk (in Russian Nikolai)
364037, г. Грозный, Ленинский р-он, ул. Кунта-Хаджи Кишиева, 2. Следственный изолятор №1, Карпюку, Николаю (1964)
364037, г. Грозный, Ленинский р-он, ул. Кунта-Хаджи Кишиева, 2. Следственный изолятор №1, Клыху, Станиславу (1974)
If you are unable to write in Russian, the following would be quite sufficient:
Желаем здоровья, мужества и терпения, надеемся на скорое освобождение.
(we wish you good health, courage and patience and hope that you will soon be released).