Monitoring of the trial of E. Mefedov (court hearing 03/22/2018)

On March,  22 in the Kiev District Court of Odessa court hearings were held on the case of the citizen of Russia, and activist of Odessa “Anti-Maidan” Evgeny Mefedov, who participated in the events of May 2, 2014 in the Odessa House of Trade Unions.

As it was specified in the previous report, E. Mefedov was on the “list for exchange” between representatives of the Ukrainian military and representatives of the ORDLO (Particular Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Regions uncontrolled by the Ukrainian authorities). But was excluded from the list at the last minute, the court promptly again put E. Mefedov under custody after short release under house arrest. ISHR experts repeatedly noted that all proceedings connected to the exchange depend heavily on the political process.

December actions  of the court (release from custody for participation in exchange of prisoners with the subsequent decision to be broght back into custody after the political decision not to exchange citizens of Russia) put the Ukrainian judicial system in an uncomfortable position. After P. Poroshenko’s statement it becomes obvious that E. Mefedov will be kept in detention until the agreement on exchange with Russia will be reached. Considering that politicians have not yet made an arrangement, there are fears concerning the possibility of conducting a fair trial for E. Mefedov and in its reasonable terms.

On March, 22 preliminary judicial session had to take place.  But, ignoring the principle of reasonable terms and operating with analogy to similar cases, without the concrete motivating component on this case, the prosecutor filed a petition for the appeal to the Supreme Court of Ukraine (through Appeal Court) for determination of territorial jurisdiction. Concerns arise that the main reason for the satisfaction of the petition of the prosecutor became the unwillingness of the court to take part in “political trial” and also need to “drag” this case until the achievement of political arrangements. It should be noted that E. Mefedov already spent in custody almost five years, which complicates his situation. In the case “Simeonovi v. Bulgaria”, the European Court of Human Rights emphasized, that Pre-trial prisoners find themselves in one of the most vulnerable situations an individual can face during criminal proceedings.

Also the attorney has reported that long stay in the pre-trial detention center has affected the health of E. Mefedov, and necessary evaluations of his health are not carried out.

Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring of this case. The previous materials can be accessed here.

Expert council