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Anti-Maidan activists invite governor to court session over last year's Odessa tragedy

June 23, 2015, 20:49 UTC+3 ODESSA
"If Saakashvili holds himself out as a champion of justice, a fighter against corruption and crime, let him come and we will talk," one of the defendants told reporters in the courtroom
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Mikheil Saakashvili

Mikheil Saakashvili

© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

ODESSA, June 23. /TASS/. Anti-Maidan activists, who are defendants in the criminal trial over the tragic events in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa last year, have invited the new governor of the Odessa region, former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, to a court session on Friday.

"It will be much more interesting than a stroll in Privoz [marketplace] or a tram ride. If he holds himself out as a champion of justice, a fighter against corruption and crime, let him come and we will talk," one of the defendants told reporters in the courtroom of the Malinovsky district court in Odessa.

He said people who have spent already a year in custody have a lot "to say about officers of the prosecutor’s office, police and court".

The court trial has continued for a second year. Initially it was held at the Primorsky court of Odessa, in the district that became the scene of riots engineered by radical activists and activists of Euromaidan, who battered relatives of the defendants who had come to the courtroom. After that the case was referred to the Malinovsky district court, where riots triggered by radical activists continued.

At the moment the court hears the first part of the case of May 2014 clashes, with 21 people in the prisoner’s box, ten of whom are kept in a detention center, while others are under house arrest. They are accused of taking part in clashes on Odessa’s Greek Square between supporters of the current Kiev regime and those in opposition.

The second part of the case concerns tragic events in Odessa in May last year.

On May 2, 2014, activists of Right Sector [an organization recognized in Russia as extremist] and the so-called ‘Maidan self-defence’ set ablaze a tent camp planed in front of the House of Trade Union by federalization supporters who collected signatures in favor of a referendum on the federalization of Ukraine and granting the Russian language an official state language status.

Federalization supporters retreated to the House of Trade Unions but radicals encircled the building and set it on fire. A total of 48 people were killed and more than 200 were injured.

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