Court Releases Journalist Pavel Volkov After a Year in Jail

The court dismissed the prosecutor's motion to extend the pre-trial custody of Ukrainian journalist Pavel Volkov, without imposing alternative pre-trial restraints. Having spent over a year in Zaporozhye jail, the journalist was finally released.

On 25 October 2018, Shevchenkovsky court of the city of Zaporozhye continued the hearing of the case of journalist Pavel Volkov, charged with infringement of territorial integrity (Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and miscellaneous accessory to terrorism (Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) for articles he published as a journalist. Uspishna Varta human rights activists monitored the case in court.

Despite the fact that the case of Pavel Volkov had been already 13 months in court, the prosecutor made a motion to restart the examination of the indictment because of the replacement of a judge. The defense opposed the motion, but the court upheld the motion. Thus, all the evidence contested by Volkov's lawyers will have to be reexamined by the court to ensure the principle of directness of examination of evidence.

In the course of the session, the court also considered prosecutor's motion to extend the pre-trial custody. In view of the prosecutor's failure to substantiate grounds and risks related to the extension of the custody, the court dismissed the motion to extend the pre-trial custody of Pavel Volkov, effectively allowing Pavel Volkov to go home.

The court scheduled daily hearings of the Volkov case for two weeks starting with 21 November 2018.

On 27 September 2018 it's been a year since Ukrainian journalist Pavel Volkov was taken to Zaporozhye jail. The Prosecutor's Office charged him with infringement of territorial integrity by a group of people (Article 110 paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and miscellaneous accessory to terrorism (Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). He is charged under both articles because of his Internet publications. Each two months, the courts extended pre-trial custody of Pavel Volkov.

In his earlier interview to Uspishna Varta, Mr. Volkov said that he had spent over a year behind the bars because of political motifs only, for his opinions and beliefs. During that time, Pavel's health deteriorated sharply, and his chronic illnesses aggravated.

Speaking at the plenary of OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2018 in Warsaw in September 2018, Natalia Natalina, Chair of Uspishna Varta Human Rights Platform,informed the international community about the Pavel Volkov case.

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