On October 4, the Babushkinsky District Court of Kamyanskoe (Dneprodzerzhinsk) held a regular hearing on the case of Darya Mastikasheva, a Ukrainian citizen accused of high treason by recruiting veterans of the antiterrorist operation in eastern Ukraine (ATO) to imitate the preparation of terrorist acts in Russia, which Russian secret services could use to discredit the Ukrainian authorities. Considering the fact that in two weeks the board of judges is losing its powers, the lawyer of D. Mastikasheva – Valentin Rybin – again raised two questions: on establishing a more tight schedule for the consideration of the case and on changing the measure of restraint to round-the-clock house arrest. The lawyer’s request to give Darya Mastikasheva’s case at least a week of daily meetings, which he has asked the court more than once, is certainly expedient from the point of view of the principle of conducting trial within reasonable time and fully corresponds to the essence of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Considering the fact that D. Mastikasheva has been in the remand prison for over a year, the refusal of the court in this petition due to “excessive overload”, can be considered as contrary to the right to a fair trial. Moreover, the court was able to find time for the next session only after 20 days.
In its decisions (“Klyakhin v. Russia”, “Labita v. Italy)”, the European Court of Human Rights noted that extending the detention period can be justified only on the condition that there are concrete signs of a genuine need to ensure the interests of the public, which, despite the presumption of innocence outweigh the principle of respect for individual freedom.
However, regarding the second petition of V. Rybin, the court took the side of the prosecutor and continued detention for D. Mastikasheva, explaining their decision on the same grounds as before (the severity of the charges, the risk of escape and pressure on witnesses). Such a position of the court is contrary to Article 5 § 3 of the Convention, according to which, after a certain time has passed, the presence of only reasonable suspicion ceases to be the basis for detention and the courts must provide other grounds for the extension of detention (Jablonski v. Poland).
The next hearing is scheduled for October 24th.
Experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this trial.
Previous materials can be found here.