At the trial of Semena witness did not confirm the testimony given during investigation

Дата: 03 April 2017
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Today, the first open court hearing on the case of Crimean journalist Mykola Semena is taking place in the Zheleznodorozhnyi District “Court” of Simferopol.

As reported by reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre, the court could not provide a more spacious room, which could accommodate journalists, for the process. The lawyer appealed for providing more spacious room on March 20, but just an additional table was set up for the defendant.

According to lawyer Oleksandr Popkov, both large courtrooms were free. But the court hearing was appointed to be held in the smallest room, where there are only 4 places for listeners.

During the court hearing the state accuser read out the accusation, Mykola Semena did not agree with the accusation.

The journalist noted that his publication was characterized by criticism of Russia’s actions on violation of international and Russian legal acts. He also noted that many countries and international organization share this point of view.

Konstantin Kuzminsky, FSB officer from the Cybersecurity Department, was also questioned today. He stated that he knows nothing about Semena’s connections with those who are organizing subversive actions. And he explained the difference with testimony, which he had given during the investigation, by the fact that the investigator himself recorded his testimony.

Afterwards, FSB operative Ilya Khomenko was questioned. During the interrogation it became clear that the case materials contain operational data which was not authorized by the court.

According to the defense, this indicates either an illegal surveillance of Semena, or that the FSB allowed the disclosure of materials related to the state secret. Due to this, the lawyers appealed to hold part of the court hearing in a closed session.

The judge refused to satisfy the motion. The next court hearing is scheduled for 2:30 pm on April 18.

As a reminder, on February 15, twenty seven human rights organizations, united in the Civic Solidarity Platform, expressed their support for the Crimean journalist Mykola Semena, who faces imprisonment for five years for daring to express his opinion.

In spring, massive searches took place in Crimea, including in the independent journalists who are suspected of collaboration with Krym.Realii. A criminal case was opened with respect to the Radio Liberty’s author Mykola Semena on suspicion of threatening the territorial integrity of Russia. Russian investigation forbade him to leave the peninsula.

On August 23, his defense submitted a request to FSB to allow Semena to leave Crimea for medical treatment.

Crimean department of FSB refused to satisfy the request of the defense.

On November 28, Semena could not visit Brussels to receive the European Prize for the freedom of speech named after Pavlo Sheremet because of the ban on travel outside Crimea.

On January 20, Semena was presented an indictment in the case of separatism under the Article 280.1 of the Criminal Code of Russia (Public appeals for the performance of extremist activity). Lawyer Kurbedinov stated that the indictment was presented in violation of the Criminal-Procedural Code.

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