Today, on April 3, the Zaliznichny district court of Simferopol held the first session at merits in the case of journalist Mykola Semena. This has been informed by the reporter of QirimInfo.
Semena is charged with the public calls for violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation in the internet (Part 2 Article 280.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). During the first session, the court heard the positions of the defense and the prosecution with regard to the case, and interrogated two FSB officers and two other witnesses.
According to Semena’s lawyers Oleksandr Popkov and Emil Kurbedinov, the replies of the FSB officers didn’t make the materials of the criminal case any clearer, but, on the contrary, provoked more questions.
«The officers of the Federal Security Service who actually tapped Mykola, failed to explain under which legal grounds they carried out this tapping and obtained the information from his PC before the court’s permit. In the end of the interrogation, one of the FSB officers flipped out and started saying there had allegedly been some other decisions of the court regarding some other tapping. This is a very important moment for us, as it shows that the FSB officers either conducted these measures illegally, arbitrarily, without sanction, or they disclaimed the materials of the operational investigations, classified as as secret, during today’s session of the court», - Popkov has clarified.
Kurbedinov has added that the defense initiated the petition to hold a closed session, «given that they were perturbated by the open session», during which Semena’s lawyers would have an opportunity to ask questions related to the state secret, according to the FSB officers. However, the court declined the petition.
«The interrogation of the FSB officers didn’t make the materials of the criminal case any clearer. Many questions just hung in mid-air, like, whether there have been any other court decisions apart from those presented before the court,» - Kurbedinov has noted.
The court also interrogated two more witnesses today. According to Popkov, they are the officials of the department of education of the local administration.
«They are not actually witnesses. These people read Mykola’s article, disliked it and reported this fact to the FSB. Herein, one of them showed initiative, and the other was asked to give his comments by the FSB, » - Popkov has added.
Important to note, the first court session at merits in Semena’s case was scheduled on March 20. However, judge of the Zaliznichny district court of Simferopol Mrs. Shkolnaya refused to consider the appeal of the defense on provision bigger court hall which would admit the press and the audience, and postponed the session till April 3.