On March 24, an appeals court in Crimea will be holding a second hearing in the case of the so-called mass riots, aka ‘February 26 case’, which allegedly took place in the Ukrainian city of Simferopol on February 26, 2014, Nikoly Polozov, a lawyer, wrote on his Facebook page.
“Adjourning of the trial under the pretext of returning the case to the prosecutor office coincided in time with the opening of a trial seeking to ban the Mejlis and recognizing it an extremist organization. Is it just a coincidence? I don’t think so,” wrote Polozov.
According to Polozov, the trials are interrelated, whereas a lawsuit filed against the Mejlis will be used as a pretext to charge the persons named in the February 26 case with terrorism.
Polozov went on to say that the indictment was drawn up with violations, which prevented the judges from passing a verdict. Therefore, the trial was adjourned under the pretext of returning the case to Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya, who appealed the decision.
“The judges were so busy with all these legal intricacies, they forgot to extend the custodial term of Akhtem Chiygoz, Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhi, causing the men to spend three days in custody. And it was not even a controversial court verdict, though passed with adherence to proper procedure, that kept them in jail, but a piece of paper (or rather two pieces of paper) signed by Judge Galina Redko that had no legal power,” said the lawyer.
However, the appeals filed by Poklonskaya and defense attorneys were never heard because it took the judges a whole day to figure out why Judge Galina Redko violated proper procedure,” wrote Polozov.
“It took the judges a whole day to figure out why Judge Galina Redko, who decided to keep the men in custody without adhering to proper procedure, was allowed to sit on the board of appeals after that. It was not until after afternoon that the three men’s term in custody was extended, though with some procedural deviations,” Polozov wrote.
According to Polozov, he repeatedly claimed the two trials are interrelated, i.e. the authorities are trying to ‘reinforce’ the poorly concocted February 26 case by charging the defendants with terrorism and, possibly, putting more men on trial. And it is Prosecutor Natalya Poklonskaya, being under orders from the Kremlyn, who has been pulling the strings in both cases.
“I believe Poklonskaya’s appealing the judges’ decision is just a show meant to let everybody see how independent and functionally different the prosecutor office and court are. Poklonskaya is unhappy about the judges procrastinating, while the judges make decisions without caving in under pressure from Poklonskaya. Everybody tries to show that justice and fairness have prevailed.
And yes, just like I said before, the February 26 and Bolotnaya are twin cases, of which Poklonskaya herself writes on page 4 of her appeal.
The show goes on,” the lawyer concludes.