On February 26th and 27th a hearing was held in the Shevchenkovsky court of Zaporozhye concerning the case of the journalist Pavel Volkov, who spent more than a year in a pre-trial detention center on charges of infringing on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The hearings were attended by representatives of the right-wing radical groups “C14” and “National Druzhina”.
During the meeting on February 26h the court considered the material evidence provided by the prosecutor that was seized from the accused during a search-laptops, a system unit, a telephone, and two notebooks.
Volkov’s lawyer requested that the evidence be recognised as inadmissible, since it was obtained without permission for the purpose of collecting evidence under article 258-3, and also since it is interference in the personal correspondence of the accused. The collegium refused to adopt this motion.
However, due to the lack of technical capabilities, the court was not able to consider the evidence that is in an electronic format. The prosecutor asked the court to postpone the hearing so that a detailed examination of the evidence could take place.
In addition, in order to put psychological pressure on the court, lawyers, and the family of the accused, about 15 representatives of the right-wing groups “C14” and “National Druzhina” arrived at the hearing. Despite the outright prohibition of the court, they took photographs of the collegium of judges and participants in the process, publishing the photos on the Internet, and also insulted a defence lawyer. The police officers that arrived after being called accepted a statement about threats, insults, and the psychological pressure being put on the participants of the process, and also ensured the safety of Volkov and his family members on their way home.
Representatives of the right-wing radical group "National Druzhina" were also present at the court session on February 27th. The day prior they, in an orderly manner, collected camouflaged uniforms with the corresponding symbols from a car parked not far from the court.
The collegium of judges continued to examine the evidence provided by the prosecutor. In particular, photographs from the laptop of the accused depicting the ruins of Donetsk and its suburbs, allegedly proving that the accused was in these territories, were reviewed.
Volkov noted that he had never concealed his trip to separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, since he had crossed the contact line in a lawful way due to family matters, having received for this a standard permit from the SBU.
The next hearing will be held on February 28th 2019.
Recall that the journalist Pavel Volkov was arrested on September 27th 2017 and spent more than a year in jail. For his professional activities, he is accused under Part 2 of Article No. 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine (by a group of persons) and Article No. 258-3 – giving other assistance to terrorists. On October 25th, in connection with the absence of grounds for extending the measure of restraint imposed on Pavel Volkov, the court released the journalist from custody. In connection with the replacement of the judge, the examination of evidence in the case started from the beginning.
The case of Pavel Volkov is being constantly monitored by the “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform.
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