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Russia's Supreme Court today upheld the sentence of Ukrainian defendants Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislaw Klyh. Perhaps the case would be less resonant if a former prisoner, Ukraine’s MP Nadia Savchenko has not arrived in the Russian capital. Thanks to her presence, unprecedented number of journalists came to the court.
They claim that in the period from December 1994 to January 1995 Karpyuk and Klyh together with other members of the gang repeatedly participated in combat clashes with soldiers of the Armed Forces in the territory of the Presidential Palace, “Mynutka” area and railway station of Groznyi town, during which at least 30 soldiers were killed and at least 13 were injured. Karpyuk and Klyh and deny guilt, protection of Ukrainians noted that they are not located on the territory of Chechnya at this time. At the beginning of this process, they gave a confession, but later they rejected. Karpyuk and Klyh declared being tortured by members of the Russian law enforcement to obtain evidence and to abandon their earlier testimony given under torture. Karpyuk was sentences to 22.5 years in prison, Klyh – to 20 years in prison.
In June, Ukraine has sent requests to the Justice Ministry for extradition of Karpyuk and Klyh, but no reply was given. Repeated requests were filed in August.
Against Klyh another case was opened concerning the contempt of court - it complained to the public prosecutor. Prosecutor accused Klyh of insulting him during one of the hearings. Lawyer of Klyh and Russian human rights activists have noted that because of the torture and pressure Klyh suffers from a mental disorder. It was reported that the prisoner was hung, tortured with electric shocks, stabbed some medications are likely to psychotropic.
October 26 the Supreme Court began to consider the appeal against the sentence of the Ukrainians. They were not brought to the courtroom and the defendants were in a cage, in jail. The meeting was attended by representatives from more than 10 embassies, as well as many journalists. Savchenko’s lawyer Ilya Novikov said about how she got to Moscow:
"Savchenko’s car was stopped for three hours on the Minsk - Moscow highway and, as a result, was not allowed in Russia, then she decided to return to Minsk and fly by the airplane. In between we had a selection of documents from her and Belarus driver, a window into two languid hours completely without connection, boundary colonel waiting, who left from Smolensk to solve the problem at the border. Return to Minsk, flight to Moscow, another sudden and unusual cordon at Sheremetyevo on a flight where the cordons never it was not. It was only at 8am arrivals hall and a taxi."
Novikov added that ex-prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk must intervene in the case of Karpyuk and Klyh, because under torture FSB investigators Ukrainians confessed that ostensibly in 1994 Yatsenyuk together with them fought in Chechnya against federal forces. Yatsenyuk promised at a meeting with US Vice President Joseph Biden to raise the issue of release Ukrainian political prisoners.
When the court retired to decide, Savchenko was surrounded by representatives of the media, but she refused to talk with the Russian TV. Russian journalists tried to "troll" her, but she did not respond to the taunts and attacks.
Stanislav Klyh said that Savchenko’s visit as "a good PR."
"What can I say, now we are watching TV, all the channels show Savchenko’s visit to the Supreme Court. Good PR project. Where is my place in situation?" He said.
Karpyuk in his final speech noted that he was removed from the process and did not participate in the trial. And in the indictment and the verdict indicates that Karpyuk in 1995 fought in Grozny, and only then, in 2000, arrived in Chechnya to undergo military training. "Prisoners make jokes of me – why did you come to fight in 1995, and in 2000 came to learn to fight?"
"All this lawlessness, it is directed only at one thing - revenge on me for what I am Ukrainian, and I am a patriot of my country," said Karpyuk.
After some discussion, the court decided to leave the verdict. The panel of judges suddenly took all the motions of the defense lawyers.