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Events in Odesa on May 2: Court found the defendants innocent

Author : 112.ua

11:30, 19 September 2017
Events in Odesa on May 2: Court found the defendants innocent

Author : 112.ua

The court fully acquitted a group of 20 anti-Maidan activists; five defendants in custody were released

11:30, 19 September 2017

 Read the original text at 112.ua.

The court found not guilty the defendants in the case on the events of May 2, 2014 on Hretska Square in Odesa (accusation of mass riots under part 2 of Article 294 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). At the present time the reading of the verdict continues. This was reported by the correspondent of Interfax-Ukraine.

As reported by "Dumska," the court fully acquitted a group of 20 anti-Maidan activists. The five defendants in custody were released: Serhiy Dolzhenkov, Serhiy Korchynsky, Vladyslav Romanyuk, and Russian citizens Eugene Mefedov and Maksim Sakaulov. The court stated that the prosecutor's office did not provide convincing evidence of the guilt of the accused (Serhiy Dolzhenkov and others). Evidence of the accusation of the participation and organization of the accused in mass riots, which entailed grave consequences (death and trauma of people), was declared invalid.

 

Related: Clashes in Odesa region after hearing the May 2 tragedy case

In addition, the court concluded that the investigation into the case was of low quality, and pointed to a number of shortcomings and gaps in the conducted investigative actions. For example, during the investigation only one police officer was interrogated from among those who were present at Hretska Square.

Related: Another Berkut officer suspected in beating Automaidan activists detained

The court also considered biased the testimony of the sole prosecution witness Olexander Posmichenko, who claimed that the defendants were involved in the crimes that he charged.

The testimony of other witnesses, according to the court, does not confirm the participation of the accused in mass riots, especially in their organization.

Photo and video materials did not satisfy the court too. According to the court, the prosecutor's office could not in any way confirm that the photo and video depicted the accused. And the last did not confirm that they are in the photo and video.

Related: Accused of May 2 tragedy in Odesa found not guilty, two of them arrested right after court’s decision

The court recognized unproved and unfounded allegations of the prosecution that officials and first persons of the state of the times of Yanukovych’s presidency were involved in organizing the events of May 2, 2014 in Odesa. At the same time, the court considers that the investigation unreasonably missed the actions of the authorities that operated after Maidan, including Andriy Parubiy and the former head of Odesa Regional State Administration, Volodymyr Nemyrivsky.

Recalling, two participants of May 2, 2014 events (Serhiy Dolzhenkov and Eugene Mefedov) were detained just after the court voiced their innocence. Ukraine’s Security Services came to the court hall during delivering the acquitting verdict. Journalists were expelled from the place. That day, Dolzhenkov and Mefedov were charged with encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.

Recall, football match was to take place at 5 p.m. on May 2, 2014 between the Kharkiv Metallist and the Odesa Chornomorets teams. Violent clashes broke out at about 3 p.m. in the city center between supporters of the interim authorities in Kyiv and protesters opposing the Kyiv authorities, and spread to other parts of the city.

According to information obtained from videos viewed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and interviews with witnesses by Human Rights Watch, the opposing groups fought each other with wooden batons, Molotov cocktails, chunks of asphalt, and similar weapons. After a government supporter was shot dead, the pro-Kyiv crowd charged a camp of anti-Kyiv protesters that had been located outside the trade union building for several months.

Related: Anniversary of May 2 tragedy in Odesa: Situation remains calm

Anti-Kyiv protesters and people who had been involved in the clashes sought cover in the trade union building when pro-government crowds attacked them, witnesses said. The building subsequently caught fire, trapping many people in the flames. Many died from burns, smoke inhalation, or as a result of jumping from the building, but there were also some who died from gunshot wounds.

The circumstances of their deaths and the nature of their injuries gives rise to many questions. The investigation should aim to identify the causes of the fire in the trade union building and the circumstances in which the victims met their deaths. The investigation should also examine why the policing that day was so inadequate, in particular why the police were apparently so unprepared for the confrontation, and assess the extent to which it could have been foreseen given the substantial support for Kyiv among football fans and the fact that anti-Kyiv forces had been assembled for weeks in the city, and why they failed to take effective steps to contain the violence once it broke out.

Related: The case on May 2 in Odessa will be considered from the beginning due to changes in board of judges

According to some media reports, police failed to take action to prevent the violence, and video footage available on the Internet shows police officers apparently standing by while preparations are made by members of both groups for acts of violence. Indications that some of those who took part came prepared for violence are provided by video footage which shows people removing wooden batons, Molotov cocktails and other weapons from cars.

There is also video footage of police standing by while violence is taking place, including handguns being fired, stone-throwing, and beatings by people on both sides. Witnesses also told that they saw situations in which police officers did not intervene even when violence was taking place in front of their eyes.

Related: 351 men convicted in crimes against Euromaidan protesters, - Prosecutor General’s Office

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