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Criminal proceedings opened in Odessa over disappearance of Russian national’s lawyer

March 10, 2016, 14:31 UTC+3 KIEV

The disappearance of lawyer Yury Grabovsky who represented the interests of Russian national detained in Ukraine is related to the court’s hearings on the case, his colleague said

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Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov

Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov

© Maxim Pab/TASS

KIEV, March 10. /TASS/. The police in Ukraine’s Odessa have opened a criminal case under the "premeditated murder" article over the disappearance of lawyer Yury Grabovsky who represents in court one of the Russian citizens detained in Ukraine, Alexander Alexandrov, a source in the Odessa police told TASS on Thursday.

A complaint over the lawyer’s disappearance was filed to the Odessa police by his close friends. "The last place where Yury was seen is Odessa. The lawyer was there on Saturday, he stayed in Arcadia hotel. His belongings are still in the hotel’s room, and the car was evacuated to Kiev. On Thursday morning a complaint over the disappearance of a person, lawyer Yury Grabovsky, was filed to a district police department," says a statement of the lawyer’s friends posted on the Legal Practice website.

According to the Odessa police, a criminal case has been opened under Part 1 Article 115 (premeditated murder) of Ukraine’s Criminal Code. At the moment he is considered a missing person.

A message posted on Grabovsky’s Facebook page on his behalf says that he allegedly left the country "against his own free will" due to personal security reasons. His location was said to be Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. However, the lawyer’s friends argue that he could not leave Ukraine, since his foreign passport was in Kiev.

Kiev's Goloseevsky district court earlier adjourned the hearing into the case of two Russian nationals - Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgevy Yerofeyev - until March 15 due to Grabovsky’s absence from court without any preliminary notification.

"Grabovsky has not been available for two days," Yerofeyev’s lawyer, Oksana Sokolovskaya, said in court. The lawyer said that Grabovsky had not been answering telephone calls and had been absent from his office.

Lawyer Sokolovskaya earlier numerously stated about threats addressed to her and pressure from Ukrainian authorities. A criminal case on domestic charges was even opened against he and her apartment was searched.

The disappearance of lawyer Yuri Grabovsky is related to the court’s hearings on the case, the lawyer of another detained Russian citizen Yerofeyev told TASS on Thursday.

Lawyer Oksana Sokolovskaya represents the interests of Yevgeny Yerofeyev who was detained together with Aleksandrov by the Ukrainian army in May last year in east Ukraine. Both Russians are accused of illegal border crossing, illegal possession of arms and involvement in terrorist activity. If found guilty, they may face life sentence in Ukraine.

"Yes, this is a thousand percent sure," lawyer Sokolovskaya said in reply to a TASS question about whether the disappearance of lawyer Grabovsky was linked with the court proceedings on this case.

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev were captured by Ukraine’s forces on May 16, 2015, in the Lugansk region, in eastern Ukraine. Kiev claims the detainees are Russian servicemen. However, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Russians "were not active servicemen of Russia’s Armed Forces at the moment of their detention."

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev say they are not guilty on any of the charges. According to their lawyers, the two men should be considered prisoners of war as both of them were members of the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) when they were detained.

The lawyers say the trial should be organized in accordance with the Geneva Convention.


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