Human Rights Campaigners: Innocent People Are Accused in Case of Explosion in Zaporizhia Church

30 August 2011, 14:16 | Scandals, crime | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Unian held a press conference today titled “Violations of human rights in the area of criminal justice.” Using the example of the so-called Ponomarivs case, the participants discussed systematic violations in the Ukrainian justice system and the methods used by the police during the pre-trial investigation to break a person and force him to sign involuntary admissions with regard to crimes he did not commit.

The participants of the press conference, the mother of the accused, Olha Diomina, lawyer Oleksandr Shatskyi, lawyer Oleh Veremiienko, human rights campaigner Volodymyr Lesyk, and deputy Yurii Hrymchak's assistant, Oleksii Hetman, said that in the case of the explosion in the Church of the Holy Intercession in the city of Zaporizhia, innocent persons are accused and are threatened by life sentences.

The mother of the two men accused, Anton and Serhii, Olha Diomina, who was also detained in the beginning of the investigation, said that her sons were beaten and blackmailed to make them admit the guilt. She was also threatened by physical abuse.

According to her, her sons were deprived of the possibility to use their own lawyers but had to have ones appointed by the investigation officers. The “right” lawyers, Adaliev, Kushch, Bakota were turned from lawyers into investigation officers. Olha Diomina stated that her sons constantly had to undergo night interrogations where they were threatened and taunted. The boys happen to be disabled, and such cruel methods broke their will and they signed the admission document.

According to the mother, Anton was mutilated after the beating but the investigation officer Yeremieev refused to grant permission for forensic medical examination. The mother addressed the human right campaigner, Nina Karpachova, regarding the use of force by the investigation officers with respect to her sons. However, no response has been received.

A similar address was sent to the Office of the Public Prosecutor but no result was achieved. According to Diomina, the court is biased in the case of her sons, many requests have been rejected, witnesses are not summoned who, according to the mother, can tell the truth. As the sons have been in prison for more than a year and Diomina found no support in Ukraine, she decided to approach the Russian prime minister and president. She received a response on August 24. It says that an appropriate address was sent to the Office of Public Prosecutor General of Ukraine.

The lawyer Oleksandr Shatskyi is of the opinion that it was an unacceptable mistake of President Yanukovych to clear that crime immediately and accept the promise of the Public Prosecutor General to do it within a week. According to the lawyer, it was easy to find scapegoats and force them to sign admissions, whereas the real perpetrators are not punished.

By virtue of a coincidence, one of the accused, Anton was in conflict with the parish priest and was suspended from work for 1.5 months. As the police was looking for a version of a group crime, his brother and mother were also accused.

According to the lawyer, the case is much more complicated. It is about a land plot in the center of Zaporizhia and the fact that representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate sought to build a church in the place of that chapel but could not obtain a permission.

According to Shatskyi, the former Bishop of Zaporizhzhia, Bishop Yosyp (Masliennikov), who was transferred to Konotop immediately after the explosion, is involved. “Everything is connected with money. I think in organizing the explosion, he [editor: Bishop Yosyp] was assisted  by the city’s highest officials,” said Shatskyi.

According to the lawyer, the date was also carefully planned as it was the time of the visit of Patriarch Kirill to Ukraine. According to him, it was an opportunity to receive funds from Patriarch Kirill and the state for the construction of a new church in the place of the destroyed one.

It was stated at the press conference that the boys could not organize the explosion according to the medical examination results. People with such mental disabilities are not able to produce the explosive device and use it. On the other hand, according to Shatskyi, it is easy to manipulate such people.

Human rights campaigner Volodymyr Lesyk drew the audience’s attention to systematic violations in the Ukrainian justice system and said that it is high time to change the court system and introduce the jury to prevent unjust decisions of the courts.

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