Monitoring of the trial of Vasily Muravitsky (session 06.08.18)

July 6, 2018 in the Korolevskiy District Court of Zhytomyr held a regular trial on the case of journalist Vasily Muravitsky, who is accused of high treason and infringement of the territorial integrity of Ukraine through his journalistic activities. Experts of the International Society for Human Rights continue to monitor this trial.

Before the session began, several men approached V. Muravitsky (one of them in a T-shirt with the symbols of the radical nationalist organization “C14”) and began to ask provocative questions about the essence of the conflict in the Donbass (whether the conflict is a civil war or a war with Russia, etc.) and shoot it on camera. It should be noted that the public recognition of the conflict in the east of the country as a civil war can cause criminal prosecution in Ukraine. In 2015 opposition journalist R. Kotsaba was arrested for publishing a video on youtube, where he spoke about the civil war in the Donbass.

During the trial, the prosecutor once again sought the detention of V. Muravitsky in custody, but due to insufficient justification, the court rejected the petition and left the accused under house arrest. Immediately after the session, as soon as the judges left the hall, the activists began to chant “separa (separatist) behind bars!”, the man in the T-shirt of the nationalist organization “C14” again began provoking V. Muravitsky and his defender, stating that the lawyer defending the “separ” himself is a “separatist”. The journalist’s lawyer demanded that the man stop threatening him. According to V. Muravitsky and his defenders, these people are provocateurs from the prosecutor’s side.

It should be noted that threats against lawyers of V. Muravitsky are part of the negative trend of violation of the rights of lawyers, primarily from radical nationalist groups. On July 27, in the building of the Court of Appeal in Kiev, members of the organization “C14” attacked the lawyer V. Rybin for his position in defending  the “wrong” client. On August 7, in the same Court of Appeal in Kiev, an attack was carried out against the lawyer O. Povalyaev. The official reason for the attack was again the fact that the lawyer defends not the right person. The International Society for Human Rights has repeatedly stated that identifying an attorney with a client is contrary to international and national legal norms.

In addition to verbal threats, one of the men present at the hearing, at the exit from the court, poured green dye on V. Muravitsky and threatened him that “this is only the beginning.” According to the defense, only the glasses of the accused defended his eyes from getting dye in them. The statement has been submitted to the police for this fact.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 28, 2018. Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring this litigation. The previous materials can be found here.

Expert Council of the ISHR