Vasyl Muravytskyi - Ukrainian journalist and blogger
He was accused of high treason after concluding the model Contract of Employment with international Russian editorial office of the «MIA «Russia Today», where he was writing analytical op-ed. In addition, facilitating a terrorism, trespass against territorial integrity of Ukraine and violation of equality of citizens and the right to carry out activities of journalists were imputed to Muravytskyi. He was criticizing Ukrainian power in his analytical materials. He was preparing journalistic investigation related to MP from Zhytomyr region, who is dealing with illegal amber mining. The materials of this investigation have disappeared after the searches and detention of the journalist.
The trial has been lasting for 5 months more than 7 months, since August 2017.
He has been kept without the right of changing the measure of restraint in Zhytomyr confinement cell since the day of his arrest, which crudely violates human rights.
In court he is kept in a cage or «aquarium» without the possibility to sit next to lawyers.
The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, the Committee to Protect Journalists (USA), Reporters without Borders (France), the Solidarity Network (Switzerland), the Union of Journalists of Finland came out in support of Muravytskyi.
He is recognized as a political prisoner (Coordination Center for Freedom of Speech) and a prisoner of conscience (Solidarity Network). The UN Department of Human Rights investigates this fact as repressions against journalists.
In December 2017, 25 members of the European Parliament prepared a letter to Ukrainian government with a request for release of Vasylyi Muravytskyi.
• The materials include a cat named Pampukh, which is considered to be an agent of the Donetsk People’s Republic by the Security Service of Ukraine;
• The Security Service of Ukraine detained Muravytskyi in the hospital, where his son was born the day before his arrest
• Muravytskyi stated on the fact of intimidation by the Security Service of Ukraine. He was blackmailed by a meeting with his relatives and the opportunity to see his new-born son in return for сonfession of guilt on camera.
On June 27, the Korolevsky court of Zhytomyr changed the measure of restraint, after 11 months in jail the journalist was transferred to house arrest.
On August 6 the Korolevsky court of Zhytomyr another hearing took place concerning the case of the journalist Vasily Muravitsky. The court denied the Prosecutor's claim and left the journalist under house arrest for another 2 months. Dissatisfied with the court's decision, representatives of the right-wing radical organizations “C14” and “Automaidan” immediately after the court session attacked Vasily Muravitsky and doused him with Zelenka.
Оn 28 September 2018,representatives of C14 led by Yevgeniy Karas and Sergei Mazur (charged with organization of Roma camp pogrom in Kiev on 21 April 2018) beat lawyer Andrey Gozhiy and local journalist Andrey Loktionov in Korolevsky courtroom in Zhitomir during the hearing of the case of Ukrainian journalist Vasily Muravitsky, defended by Mr. Gozhiy. More details here. We also recommend viewing the full video of the events in the Zhitomir court.
At the court session of 28 September the prosecution was to demonstrate experts whose conclusions led to charges of treason for the journalist. However the experts failed to appear in court, again. The judge decided to extend the house arrest of Mr. Muravitsky for another two months.
The representatives of “C14” who on September 28 attacked the lawyer Andrey Gozhy and the journalist Andrey Laktionov in the hall of the court in Zhytomyr still haven't been brought to justice. According to the representative of the police, the identity of the attackers has been established, and they are under investigation. The National Police justified the presence of armed members of “C14” and “National Corpus” at the hearing by referring to the rights to freedom of movement and speech. A video of the conflict is available on the YouTube channel of “Uspishna Varta”.
А regular hearing on the case of the journalist Vasily Muravitsky took place on October 24 in Zhytomyr. During the trial, the Prosecutor offered as evidence of Muravitsky's guilt his e-mails, including spam emails in which the journalist had allegedly won money in Russian rubles. The journalist's defence team insists that the written proof attached by the Prosecutor can't be recognized by the court as admissible, since according to point 11 of Article 290 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine they have not passed a special procedure to initiate the defense.
On November 16 the Korolevsky Court of Zhytomyr continued to study the evidence of the Prosecutor's Office concerning the case of Muravitsky. To prove the guilt of the journalist, the Prosecutor's Office showed a contract according to which Vasily Muravitsky was hired to work for a Russian publication.
The Zhytomyr journalist Vasily Muravitsky, who stayed in jail on similar charges for almost 330 days, spoke with “Uspishna Varta” human rights activists about his personal experience of staying in jail and being pressured by law enforcement bodies. According to Muravitsky, about 95% of persons who are accused on political grounds choose to make a deal with the investigation. People sign agreements and most of the time slander themselves just to get a suspended sentence and to get out of prison. More details can be read in this interview.
On December 12th another hearing concerning the case of the journalist Vasily Muravitsky took place in the Korolevsky court of Zhytomyr. The court gave the lawyers time to review the case file. The next hearing is scheduled for January 10th.
On January 10th, 2019 another court hearing on the case of the journalist Vasily Muravitsky took place in the Korolevsky Court of Zhytomyr. The court decided to extend the measure of restraint imposed on the journalist in the form of around-the-clock house arrest for another 60 days. The next hearing will be held on February 25th.
On March 6th, 2019 in the Korolevsky Court of Zhytomyr the measure of restraint in the form of around-the-clock house arrest imposed on the journalist Vasily Muravitsky was once again extended for another 2 months - until May 3rd.
On April 12th, 2019 the Korolevsky Court of Zhytomyr heard the written evidence provided by the prosecutor - the personal correspondence of the journalist. The lawyer of the accused motioned for the inadmissibility of the heard evidence, since it was obtained in violation of theregulations of the Criminal Procedure Code, as well as for changing the conditions of house arrest from 24-hour to night. The court did not satisfy both motions.
On April 22nd, despite the absence of the journalist's lawyer, the court held a hearing during which it planned to consider the motion of the prosecutor for changing the measure of restraint to a more strict one - detention. However, the state lawyer refused to be involved in this trial. Earlier the prosecutor repeatedly motioned for a more strict measure of restraint for Vasily Muravitsky, allegedly because the journalist could hide from the court or “will continue to commit crimes - to publish articles of an anti-Ukrainian character”. At a hearing on April 23, already in the presence of the lawyer of Muravitsky, the court once again rejected the motion of the prosecutor. The following court hearing will take place on May 8th. Vasily Muravitsky spent 11 months in a pre-trial detention center and has been under house arrest for nearly a year.
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