France's Moscow-based freelance journalist Paul Gogo, who was in Donbas together with William Roguelon, a key prosecution witness in the case of Ukrainian guardsman Vitaliy Markiv, jailed in Italy for 24 years on charges of killing an Italian photo reporter amid hostilities in eastern Ukraine in 2014, considers the Pavia court's verdict politicized and says he is ready to testify for the appeal.
"The decision of Italian justice was shocking for those who know this case at least a little. Since I was at the forefront of this drama, I would like to testify," he said, according to the television news service TSN.
Gogo said that the Italian prosecutor's office had failed the investigation: "I was in Donetsk, I lived there with the injured Frenchman. He called me at the time of the shelling, I called the embassy [the Italian and French Embassy] to tell them that something was happening. His seriousness has never been questioned, although he clearly played a role in the course of this drama. But Italy seems to have completely failed the investigation."
Gogo noted that Markiv was convicted based on "false testimony" and under pressure from journalists' trade unions.
As UNIAN reported, despite the presence of convincing evidence that Markiv could not have been involved in the shelling, which became the cause of the death of Italian freelance photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian translator Andrei Mironov in Donetsk region in May 2014, the court in Pavia sentenced the Ukrainian guardsman to 24 years in prison.
A decision on the appeal against the verdict against Markiv could be taken next year, according to his lawyer Raffaele Della Valle, the Ukrainian media outlet Hromadske said. The court should make the statement of reasons of the sentence public within 90 days, according to which Markiv was sentenced to 24 years in prison, the lawyer said. After receiving the full text of the sentence, the defense will be able to appeal.
The appeal is expected to be considered by the Court of Appeals in Milan, which will not hear witnesses, but will only work with the materials of the case. Appeals can last from one to several months, so a decision could be delivered in the spring of 2020.