Russia wants to hold "court hearings" on captive Ukrainian sailors behind closed doors – lawyer
Russian lawyer Nikolay Polozov has said the Investigation Department of the FSB Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation asks to hold "court hearings" on captive Ukrainian sailors behind closed doors.
"The position of the Ukrainian sailors' defense team is to have open and transparent court hearings that comply with the principles of publicity amid trial. Media, representatives of foreign embassies, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova, as well as relatives of the captive Ukrainian prisoners of war must be admitted," he wrote on Facebook.
According to Polozov, the defense team will submit the relevant motions.
"If the Russian authorities have nothing to fear and hide in the case of the Ukrainian sailors, so why does the investigation ask the court to hold hearings behind closed doors?" Polozov added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on the morning of November 25, Russia blocked the passage to the Kerch Strait for the Ukrainian tugboat "Yany Kapu" and two armored naval boats "Berdyansk" and "Nikopol," which were on a scheduled re-deployment from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol.
The Ukraine Navy Command noted that the Russian side had been informed of the plans to re-deploy the vessels in advance in accordance with international standards to ensure the safety of navigation. The Russian coast guard ship "Don" rammed the Ukrainian tugboat, damaging the Ukrainian vessel.
As the Ukrainian boats were heading back in the Odesa direction after being rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.
All 24 crew members on board were captured and later remanded in custody for two months, being charged with "illegal border crossing" (the sailors are facing up to six years in prison). Three crewmen were wounded in the attack.
Russian-controlled "courts" in occupied Crimea ruled that all 24 detainees should be remanded in custody, after which they were transferred to the Moscow-based Lefortovo and Matrosskaya Tishina detention centers.