war crimes in Ukraine

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Trial over Dnipropetrovsk bombs deferred because of protests

26.02.2013    source:
The trial of four men charged in connection with a series of bomb explosions in Dnipropetrovsk last year has been deferred until 12 March. While the judges say this is over protests, the sister (and lawyer) of one of the defendants believes it is to dull public interest in yet another profoundly worrying case

An earlier demonstration in support of Dmytro Reva

The trial in the case of four men charged in connection with a series of bomb explosions in Dnipropetrovsk last year has been deferred until 12 March.  According to Oksana Tomchuk, sister and lawyer of one of the defendants  - Dmytro Reva - who was due to give testimony, the adjournment is in connection with the protest over the charges.

One of the Judges, Vitaly Moroz said that there was even a proposal to consider whether the trial could continue at all. He asserted that there was pressure on the judges and contempt of the justice system.

However Presiding Judge Ihnatenko decided not to raise this, but simply deferred the hearing to 12 March.

Oksana Tomchuk insists that their action is to demonstrate support, not to put pressure on the court.  She said that they had known that such criticism might be heard, and deliberately organized a silent demonstration in order to show our support.

She is convinced that the prosecution is simply trying to distract the public and stop them hearing her brother’s testimony.

The next protest in support of her brother is planned for outside the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The lawyers of two of the four men accused, Dmytro Reva and Lev Prosvirnin believe that their clients have simply been charged “for company” for the sake of the Prosecutor and Presidential reports, this being a high profile case.  Concern about the same two defendants has also been expressed by human rights activists.

As reported, the four men are charged with a number of explosions in Dnipropetrovsk on 27 April 2012.  The four explosions coincided with major national and international coverage of Yulia Tymoshenko’s allegations that she had been mistreated by prison staff.  The explosions did not kill anybody, but 31 people were injured.

On 31 May, shortly before the beginning of Euro 2012 which Ukraine was co-host of, it was announced that 2 suspects had been arrested for allegedly demanding four and a half million dollars or else they would continue to plant bombs.  On 1 June it was announced that 4 people had been arrested and remanded in custody.  Viktor Sukachev is a Senior Professor of Political Science at the Dnipropetrovsk National Universiity and Vitaly Fedoriak is an Assistant Professor. 

Dmytro Reva says that the police applied torture and psychological pressure.  He asserts that he was held for several hours with his legs half in splits position and his arms raised. One of the SBU [Security Service] officers, he says, threatened to show him how fragile the human body is, while offering to bring coffee and cigarettes if he confessed. 

His lawyer calls the charges against her client absurd and unlawful. She asserts that he is charged purely with having been in the centre of town on the instruction of one of the other men accused.  She is adamant that there is no evidence of his involvement in the crime.  

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