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Trial of five Ukrainian prisoners of war: replacement of several attorneys

About the case: Russian court is considering the case against 5 Ukrainian prisoners of war (Ivan Vladimirovich Bezlepkin, Yury Yuryevich Makarenko, Gleb Aleksandrovich Petruk, Vladimir Ivanovich Puzanov, Dmitry Nikolaevich Reivakh), the investigation accuses them of participation in terrorist communities (article 205.4 part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

The case is being considered by the Southern District Military Court, Judge Gurgen Dovlatbekyan Serzhikovich.

The court, consisting of one presiding judge, announces that the hearing will continue. The list for consideration indicates that there are three judges, but K.N. Krivtsov and A.A. Magomadov are absent. The secretary reports who has appeared at the hearing. The judge found out in detail who were the members of the public in the room: who were the students, who were the relatives of the accused, who were the representatives of the media, asked the parties whether they intended to question the members of the public present as witnesses – they answered that they did not. Two new defense attorneys were present at the hearing – Artur Igorevich Akelyants (from Reyvakh) and Sergei Kovalevich (from Makarenko). 

The judge announces the composition of the court, the secretary, the prosecution and the defense, explains the right of objection, asks the parties if there are any objections (no) and if it is necessary to explain the procedural rights to the new defense lawyers (no).

Makarenko’s lawyer Kovalevich declares a motion to withdraw from the counsel by appointment, and asks to be relieved of her duties.

 Makarenko supports the motion, when asked by the court about the reason for refusal explains that it is due to distrust of the appointed counsel. The judge asks the new defense attorney Kovalevich in which chamber he is a member and where he lives, whether he undertakes to appear at hearings and “not to disrupt them by his non-appearance” – “I undertake”. The judge asks Chigaeva’s appointed lawyer for her opinion – “At the discretion of the court”, as well as the other defense lawyers – they do not object or leave the matter to the discretion of the court. The prosecutor does not object “if the substitution will not disrupt the hearings”. The court explains to Makarenko that if his appointed attorney does not appear, another attorney will be appointed for him. When asked by the judge whether the failure was due to financial status, Makarenko responded in the negative.

The court grants Makarenko’s request, releases Chigaeva, explains to her right to file an application for costs through the court’s reception area, Chigaeva leaves the room, and the bailiff issues her an attorney’s mandate.

The same is repeated with Reyvakh. Reyvakh’s lawyer Akelyants made a motion, the lawyer supported it, the court put questions to the lawyer – in response, the lawyer promised not to disrupt the hearing. The defense did not object. The prosecutor does not object “if it does not lead to disruption.” Reyvach also says the waiver is not material. The court warns Reyvach to appoint another attorney if the current attorney does not appear.

The court grants Reyvach’s motion, discharges counsel Penkov, and explains to him the possibility of attaching the statement to the case file. The discharged defense counsel receives an attorney’s mandate and leaves the courtroom.

Both new defense attorneys, Kovalevich and Akelyants, made a request to postpone the hearing, since they had not yet had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the case materials. The court inquiries from them whether and how they have tried to familiarize themselves with the case materials.

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