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Donbas militia include Odessa massacre case defendants in prisoner exchange list

August 18, 2015, 9:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

All of the defendants are anti-Maidan activists charged in the case of May 2 Odessa clashes that resulted in the death of 48 people

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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Voitenko

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have included in the list of prisoners subject for exchange with Kiev activists of the protest opposition movement in Ukraine accused of participating in mass riots in the Black Sea city of Odessa in May 2014, DPR human rights ombudsperson Daria Morozova said on Tuesday.

The tragedy at the Odessa House of Trade Unions occurred on May 2, 2014. A sign-up campaign in support of a referendum turned into clashes between nationalist activists of the Right Sector and the Maidan self-defense groups on the one side and federalization supporters on the other side. The clashes resulted in the local House of Trade Unions being set on fire. More than 200 people were injured in the tragedy while 48 lost their lives.

Overall, 21 people have been put on trial in the May 2 case, of whom 10 are being held in custody. All of the persons against whom criminal charges were brought are anti-Maidan activists only.

Their lawyer Kirill Shevchuk said earlier today that they asked to be included in such list themselves. Defense lawyers repeatedly stated that the investigation is incompetent and trial is unfair. According to Shevchuk, "defendants have a chance for freedom only in case of being included in this list."

"We included 10 defendants in case of Odessa tragedy of 2 May 2014 in the prisoner exchange list. Negotiations are currently being held with the Ukrainian side about these people," Morozova told Donetsk News Agency.

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