KIEV, September 18. /TASS/. A court in the Ukrainian city of Chernomorsk has found five defendants in the case of the unrest happened in Odessa on May 2, 2014, not guilty, a local news outlet, Timer, reported.
"The court does not rule out the possibility that the defendants did not organize mass unrest but tried to protect civilians. The defendants have been found not guilty as there was not enough evidence to prove their guilt," the report reads.
The judge said that there was "not any evidence to back up the charge." "Moreover, the prosecutor did not even try to prove their guilt," he added. The judge also said that the investigation had been biased and influenced by people who had been involved in the events. According to the court, investigators failed to find weapons used against those who were killed in the events and question football fans, law enforcement officers and government officials.
The case involves 19 activists of the Kulikovo Pole movement, accused of organizing mass riots which led to fatalities. Five of the defendants have spent nearly three and a half years in the Odessa pre-trial detention center.
On May 2, 2014, radicals of Ukraine’s Right Sector organization (outlawed in Russia) and the so-called Maidan self-defense units burnt up a tent camp on Kulikovo Field where Odessa residents were collecting signatures for a referendum on the country’s federalization and the status of Russian as a state language. People sought shelter in the Trade Union House in downtown Odessa, while the radicals encircled the building and set it ablaze, assaulting those who tried to escape from the fire.
As many as 48 people died and over 200 were injured in the massacre.