Odessa defendants acquitted, then re-arrested: ‘There is a political will to keep them behind bars’

By Alexander Chalenko


September 19: Yesterday, the Illichivsk City Court of Odessa acquitted the participants of the May 2 events from the Antimaidan [antifascist opponents of the February 2014 right-wing coup in Kiev]. This decision provoked the anger of Ukrainian nationalists.

The judges considered that the accused “Kulikovtsy” did not take part and did not organize riots in Odessa on May 2, 2014. At the same time, the court immediately arrested two of the acquitted defendants — Ukrainian Sergey Dolzhenkov and Russian Evgeny Mefyodov — for 60 days on another charge. They were charged under Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, accused of separatism.

Banner mourning the antifascists killed on May 2, 2014, in Odessa.
Alexey Albu, a former deputy of the Odessa Regional Council and survivor the attack on the House of Trade Unions on May 2, 2014, said:

“These people are really innocent. And sooner or later the court had to make a positive decision because they did not commit any unlawful acts, unlike those who attacked Odessa on May 2. Again: today in the dock are those who defended themselves, not those who attacked. The attackers against the inhabitants of Odessa were not judged.

“In my opinion, there is a political will to keep these people behind bars in any case. The court vindicates them on the one hand, and on the other — they are jailed again under another article. I think that it is in the interests of the top people of the state: Poroshenko, Turchinov, Avakov, Parubiy and all those who were involved in the organization of this massacre.

“It also seems to me that the court decision may be linked to the fact that now a great destabilization campaign brewing in Odessa. It’s connected with a fire at the Victoria Children’s Camp, which resulted in the deaths of several children. This is a terrible tragedy which the nationalists tried to use today to overthrow the mayor of Odessa, demanding that he resign. And not only nationalists, but a number of politicians, like Saakashvili, like Hurwitz, want to do this, and one of Odessa’s leading businessmen Adnan Kivan is interested in this. Today they want to remove the mayor of Odessa with the help of the nationalists. On September 20 at Duma Square near City Hall, large protest actions are scheduled. And in order to shift attention to another problem, the question of May 2 was raised. A positive decision was taken that triggered a confrontation and shifted public attention from Victoria Children’s Camp to May 2.

“Regarding the exchange [of the prisoners with the Donbass republics], I believe that this is unlikely. Ukraine has a large “exchange fund”; according to various estimates, between 1,200 and 1,300 militiamen and political prisoners are in prison, and Ukraine will not exchange people like Mefedov and Dolzhenkov. Their exchange could lead to negative consequences for the Ukrainian authorities, because these people were essentially kept in Ukrainian prisons without committing any unlawful actions.”


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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