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Official noises from the police over Razvozzhaev case


The Head of the Kyiv Police Public Relations Department, Volodymyr Polishchuk stated on Saturday that the Kyiv Police are carrying out a pre-trial criminal investigation into the abduction of Russian opposition activist, Leonid Razvozzhaev.  T.  This was prompted by an accompanying letter from the Solomyansk District Prosecutor’s Office instructing an investigation of the criminal proceedings registered in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations on 22 November. The investigation is on the basis of a formal application from the lawyer of Leonid Razvozzhaev regarding his abduction.

Polishchuk said that in the course of their investigation, they had been informed by border officials that Razvozzhaev had crossed the border voluntarily, showing his documents.

A number of information agencies and Internet sites reported this information on Saturday with headlines suggesting that the Kyiv Police had taken up the case.  It is difficult to feel so optimistic.  The lawyer in question, Mr Zakrevsky was aware that the new Criminal Procedure Code which came into effect on 20 November makes it obligatory to input cases into the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations. 

Please see Enforced Silence: From Kyiv to Siberia for details about response to the abduction and forced return to Moscow of Leonid Razvozzhaev and about the prosecutions against him in Russia.

Polishchuk has already excelled himself once on the subject of Razvozzhaev’s abduction.  The following is easier read in full than summarized .  On 24 October he told journalists that the investigation by the Ministry into Razvozzhaev’s abduction would continue until 29 October, however they were already able to say that no criminal investigation could be initiated over the abduction. This, he said, was because a foreign national had been abducted by a foreign security service and such services should not share their plans regarding such activities.

“If there was a criminal offence, i.e. if a person was abducted, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Ukrainian or Russian Federation citizen, such material reaches the police in the form of a statement or information, it’s registered and an investigative check is carried out.  On the basis, in fact, of an appeal from a lawyer, a woman born in 1983 that a person has been abducted. However the next day that person was alive and well and accompanied by the RF Security Service.  It’s clear therefore that here it wasn’t criminals who abducted the person, or terrorists, but that an operation by other enforcement officers has been undertaken on Ukrainian territory.”

Polishchuk claimed that the Ministry has no information as to whether the operation was undertaken with the permission and in the accompaniment of Ukrainian divisions. This, he said, was not a matter for a criminal inquiry, but a political issue.

There were reports around a week or so later  that the Interior Ministry had refused to initiate a criminal investigation.

(Halya Coynash)

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