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Odessa district court to consider on merits case for Trade Unions House tragedy on May 29

May 23, 2015, 23:01 updated at: May 23, 2015, 23:41 UTC+3 KIEV

Around 48 people were reported dead and 247 injured in the clashes and in the fire in the Trade Unions House

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KIEV, May 23. /TASS/. Odessa’s Malinovsky district court has closed initial hearings into the case on mass riots that rocked that Black Sea port on May 2, 2014 and has set the date for considering the case on merits for May 29. The court chamber chaired by Judge Viktor Koroi adopted the ruling on Saturday.

"The court prolongs the arrest of eleven defendants for another 60 days and rejects as ungrounded a motion of the defendants’ lawyers to challenge the public prosecutor," the Ukrainian Ukrinform state news agency said.

The city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, 2014, during which Right Sector militants (the movement recognised as an extremist organisation in Russia) and so-called "Maidan self-defence" militants from Kiev set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents had taken shelter, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine's federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

Around 48 people were reported dead and 247 injured in the clashes and in the fire in the Trade Unions House. Some Ukrainian politicians said the death toll had reached 116 but they said the Kiev authorities concealed the facts. Investigators have so far failed to name those guilty of the crime.

Meanwhile, 22 people were charged with organising riots. Eleven out of the suspects are under arrest and another eleven are on the wanted list. At the same time, investigators have failed to find evidence proving the arson of the Trade Unions House had been planned.

Odessa's Malinovsky district court sent the indictment back to the Prosecutor General's Office for further investigation, pointing out that the indictment accusing 22 persons of involvement in the tragic events on May 2 lacked details and factual evidence proving the suspects' guilt.

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