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Maksym Butkevych's "trial": the "victims" fail to attend

22.08.2023, 13:41
Photo: Mediazona
Photo: Mediazona

In Moscow, the General Jurisdiction Court of Appeal No. 1 started considering the appeal against the conviction of Ukrainian human rights advocate and journalist, Maksym Butkevych. On March 10, the occupation court in Luhansk oblast sentenced him to 13 years in prison for allegedly injuring two women in Severodonetsk by firing a grenade launcher into the door of a residential building, reports the Russian media "Mediazona".

The two supposed victims, the Afonyns, refused to participate in the hearing; another victim, Sahan, submitted a a statement about the significant losses he suffered, but did not appear in court, either.

Employees of the German, British and French consulates, as well as human rights advocates from the "Memorial", Oleg Orlov and Svetlana Ganushkina, came to the court to support Butkevych. Butkevych's father also managed to be present in the courtroom.

Butkevych himself attended the meeting via video call from Luhansk. A three-judge panel of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation starts considering the appeal against Butkevych's sentence, passed by the occupation court in Luhansk on March 6.

In the first instance court, Butkevych was represented by an attorney appointed by Tyutyunnikov. She was out of contact and could not be summoned to today's hearing.

"A veteran of the Ukrainian Armed Forces," Butkevych introduced himself at the court's request.

He said that this morning, he was able to talk consensually to an attorney whom he chose himself for the first time.

Four journalists submitted their credentials to attend the meeting. Another listener asked permission to film.

The request was denied by the prosecutor "due to the specifics of the charge." The panel of judges agreed, only allowing photo and video recording during breaks, but not the trial itself.

Judge Izotieva read out the summary of Butkevych's verdict. The Luhansk occupation court found him guilty of "mistreatment of civilians and prisoners of war, use of prohibited methods in an armed conflict, attempted murder of two persons and intentional damage to other people's property in a generally dangerous manner."

He was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to 13 years in a high-security prison.

In addition, Butkevych was ordered to pay damages to the victims: one million rubles each to the Afonins (mother and daughter) and 600,000 rubles to Sakhan.

As IMI reported, on March 10, 2023, the Investigative Committee of Russia announced that the "court" of ORDLO had convicted three Ukrainian POWs: Maksym Butkevych (13 years in prison), Viktor Pokhozey (8,5 years in prison), and Vladyslav Shel (18,5 years in prison).

They were found guilty "of abusing the civilian population and using prohibited methods in an armed conflict (Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation)."

The Ukrainian MFA has called on the international community to condemn the sentence of the POW and human rights advocate Maksym Butkevych.

On March 13, 2023, human rights advocates, media workers, volunteers and activists called for the release of Maksym Butkevych, a prisoner of war illegally convicted by the occupiers.

In June 2022, human rights activist, journalist, and co-founder of ZMINA human rights center and NGO "Hromadske Radio" Maksym Butkevych has been taken prisoner by the Russians near ​​the captured Zolote and Hirske villages in Luhansk oblast. Russian propagandists announced the capture of Butkevych on June 24, publishing a video of his interrogation.

In September 2022, the Ministry of Defense of Russia confirmed holding human rights activist and Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier Maksym Butkevych as prisoner. He is currently in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk oblast.

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