The journalist Pavel Volkov may be acquitted on March 27

The journalist Pavel Volkov may be acquitted on March 27

On March 6th the final hearing on the case of the journalist Pavel Volkov, who spent more than a year in a pre-trial detention center on charges of encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, was held in the Shevchenkovsky court of Zaporozhye.

During the hearing, the court continued to investigate the evidence of the prosecutor's office, in particular, the phone and notebook of the accused. For the examination of the phone at the request of the prosecutor, an expert was summoned to the hearing with special equipment to open the phone. After a long time, it was succeeded to open the phone, but there was no information on it, since the validity of the SIM cards had expired and the mobile operator had blocked them. During the study of the notes from the notebook of the accused, evidence for the imputed articles was also not found.

The lawyer of the accused filed a motion in which he asked the court to add new evidence to the case. In particular, screenshots of an e-mail and the pages of the accused’s social network accounts confirming that after the seizure of computer equipment and during Volkov’s stay in the pre-trial detention center correspondence with third parties was conducted on his behalf, as well as provocative news, were published.

And there was also a package of documents from the Prosecutor-General’s Office, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Supreme Court, and the National Security and Defence Council about the “DPR” and “LPR” not being recognized as terrorist organisations in Ukraine at the legislative level. The court examined and added the evidence to the case.

After completing the examination of evidence, the court was supposed to move on to the debate stage. But the prosecutor said that on March 4th he compiled and registered a new indictment, which does not change the circumstances of the case and does not re-qualify the charges, but only makes separate corrections (three blogger materials are removed from the indictment). According to the prosecutor, the indictment was signed just a few minutes ago and he needed a technical break in order to deliver the documents.

Despite the protest of lawyers, the court provided the prosecutor with an opportunity to deliver a new indictment during the lunch break, setting a clear timeframe for this. The prosecutor did not return at the appointed time. He arrived in court only 2.5 hours later, but without an indictment, because it was never approved.

The court continued the debate. The prosecutor demanded for the accused 15 years of imprisonment without confiscation and with the recovery of the cost of numerous examinations in the amount of more than 38,000 hryvnia. The lawyers asked for the acquittal of all charges. The collegium retired to the deliberation room before handing down the final verdict.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 27th, 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 lack 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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