Legal Case of the Week: Nadia Savchenko

posted 14 Mar 2016, 10:31 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Mar 2016, 10:31 ]
On 9 March 2016 in the ongoing trial of Nadia Savchenko, who had been on a 'dry' hunger strike since 4 March, as Human Rights in Ukraine reported, 'Any fears (or Russian hopes?) that after five days without even water, Savchenko would be too weak to even attend the hearing, let alone give her final address were dispelled.' Nadiya Savchenko’s address is available in English in a translation Maidan Translations. Human Rights in Ukraine reports that 'Savchenko spoke in Ukrainian and the translator mostly just read out what had been prepared the previous week. There were however a couple of additions, and it was one of these that so riled the court. At one moment she got on the bench and positively insisted that the translator add her gesture – using her middle finger to express her contempt of the farce of a trial. The judge tried to reprimand her, but she pointed out that the final word is a right she has to give without interruption.' There are three three judges sitting in the trial: presiding judge Leonid Stepanenko, Ali Khaibulaev and Yevgeny Chernysh. At the end of the hearing on 9 March, Presiding Judge Leonid Stepanenko said he would begin announcing the verdict on March 21. On 8 March 57 MEPs signed a letter urging the EU to impose personal sanctions against President Putin and 28 other individuals over the ‘illegal’ treatment of Nadia Savchenko. Subsequently the Russian authorities announced that because of Savchenko's 'defiant behaviour' in court and the 'insulting statements addressed to the court', Ukrainian doctors would not be allowed access to Savchenko.

Photo of Nadia Savchenko: Human Rights in Ukraine

On 10 March Savchenko's lawyer Mark Feigin announced on Twitter that Savchenko had started drinking water again. As RFE/RL reports, Feigin said Savchenko 'made the decision to tone down her hunger strike after a request from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.' However, Feigin later told RFE/RL that 'a purported letter from Poroshenko he had given Savchenko turned out to be a fake. He asserted that it was orchestrated by Russian authorities in an effort to discredit Savchenko, her lawyers, and Ukraine.' Poroshenko’s office confirmed that he had not sent Savchenko a letter. and two Russians, 'pranksters' who themselves Lexus and Vovan, said that they were behind the hoax.

Throughout the week, police in Moscow detained groups of Savchenko's supporters, protesting over her trial. The Moscow Times reported that on 7 March police detained 5 people protesting against Savchenko's trial near the FSB HQ in Moscow. On 8 March a further 35 protestors were detained in Moscow.

'Russian Savchenko Trial Farce Ends. Bring on the Sanctions,' Human Rights in Ukraine, 10 March 2016Hunger-Striking Ukrainian Pilot 'Consuming Liquids' Again, RFE/RL, 10 March 2016
Anastasia Bazenkova, '35 Supporters of Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko Detained in Moscow,' The Moscow Times, 8 March 2016
'EU Lawmakers Demand Sanctions On Putin, 28 Others Over Savchenko,' RFE/RL, 8 March 2016
'Nadiya Savchenko Has Her Say in Court – March 9, 2016 #FreeSavchenko,' Voices of Ukraine, 9 March 2016
'О телефонном разговоре Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова с Министром иностранных дел Украины П.А.Климкиным,' Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации, 9 March 2016