Nadiya Savchenko's lawyer Mark Feygin
Proceedings in Nadiya Savchenko’s case started earlier this week at the Donetsk City Court (Russia’s Rostov Oblast). Once again she denied all charges fabricated against her. She is charged with the “murder of two journalists of the Russian VGTRK TV Channel,” “illegal crossing of the border,” and that she has supposedly been a “gun-layer.”
“I plea not guilty! Everything that is written there is a lie!” said the Ukrainian. She communicated with the court in Ukrainian via an interpreter. Nadiya also added that she “saw no journalists” and “have never fired at unarmed people.” “I’m a soldier, not a murderer. I’m a pilot, not an gunner. These are very different things,” added Savchenko. She has also said she was willing to testify under a polygraph.
Nadiya Savchenko testifies Tuesday, 29 September. As Ilya Novikov, lawyer, indicated at his Facebook page she has the right “to start a trial with presenting to the court her version of events, and we will use this.” “After this it will be prosecutors’ turn for 2-3 weeks. There are tree of them, two local and one sent from Moscow to strengthen their stand,” wrote Mr.Novikov. At the same time, the advocate told Radio liberty that the verdict had been written long ago and that it would be the severest one…
The Day asked Mark Feygin to comment on the forthcoming court hearing, as well as Nadiya’s chances of passing a polygraph test (lie detector).
Mark Feygin: Theoretically, the court may appoint her to be interrogated via a polygraph. The Criminal Procedure Code allows the court to rule upon it at the defendant’s request. The prospect of such court ruling is really low though. Besides, these testimonies may be a part of the trial, but the assessment will still be made by the court.
We will seek a re-examination of the video filmed by Egor Russky (the Russian who filmed Nadiya’s 17 June 2014 capture) and of the phone billings. Experts’ reports had been a part of the case but the investigators somehow completely ignored those. These materials are convincing evidence of Savchenko’s innocence. Based on expert’s report on phone billing Nadiya had already been held captive for more than an hour the moment Voloshin and Kornelyuk were killed.
The Day: Nadiya testifies next week. What’s your defense strategy?
Mark Feygin: We want to show the whole line of events of 17 June when the Russian journalists were killed and civilians were allegedly injured. It is important that she told all about the events of 23 June, when she had allegedly been “released from captivity” and “deliberately entered Russia.” Her version of events needs to be heard before the prosecution presents its absolutely insane evidence.
If Nadiya names the person who had captured her and then let her go, we will again demand Valery Bolotov to be brought before the court. His name is not mentioned in the case files at all but he had been the first head of the so-called “LNR” (Luhansk Peoples Republic). In his interview to the Vesti program at the VGTRK TV Channel Bolotov, he said Savchenko had escaped from captivity during the airstrike (!). What airstrike is he talking about if no planes were flying on 23 June? He also added that Savchenko “ran towards Russia.”
After that, the investigation team interrogated Plotnitsky in March. He had stated before that he personally let her go. The question is: can they at least make up their mind?
The Day: You have announced in your Twitter the Global Day of action to support Nadiya Savchenko. What’s exactly planned?
Mark Feygin: The Global Day is an opportunity to express solidarity and support for Nadiya Savchenko’s innocence and at the same time pressure the Kremlin. On 28 September, Putin will be speaking at the UN and he is keen to get support for his idea of a campaign against the IS in Syria. But one cannot get this support if one just like the IS has been violating human rights. The Global Day might put him in an awkward position and it will be easier to get Savchenko released.
This action is important in terms of getting the the West’s public opinion focused at the struggle for setting Nadiya free.