Trial of Mikhail Savva to start afresh

posted 23 Dec 2013, 09:24 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Dec 2013, 09:26 ]
19 December 2013

Source: (info)
The case of Professor Mikhail Savva, who has been charged with fraud, will be heard afresh by a court in Krasnodar, since the judge hearing the case has been changed, Elena Savva, the wife of Mikhail who is acting as his public defender, reports.

According Mikhail Savva’s lawyer, the new trial will begin on 20 December, Caucasian Knot reports.

Mikhail Savva, a professor at Kuban State University and director of grant programmes at the Southern Regional Resource Centre, is charged with theft of 360,000 roubles in conducting grant-funded research. Moreover, the prosecution believes that Savva received payments for a series of lectures at the university that he did not give. According to local and international human rights organizations, the prosecution of Mikhail Savva is politically motivated. Mikhail Savva maintains his innocence.

Professor Savva was detained on 12 April 2013 and was remanded in custody by a court on 13 April. On 29 November Krasnodar’s Pervomaisky district court that heard the case ruled that Savva should be kept in custody until 30 January 2014. On 4 December Mikhail Savva was transferred to house arrest, a decision taken by the court on the basis of its review of an appeal by the federal human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin.

On 18 December Elena Savva reported that the judge hearing the trial had been changed.

"The case will be heard by Valentina Popova. They did not tell us why the judge has been changed. Probably it is because Judge Vasily Makhov has been ill for some time,” Elena Savva said, pointing out that earlier the trial had been interrupted for reasons of the judge’s ill health.

Elena Savva also said that the next hearing in the case was to be on Friday, 20 December, and that the court would hear the case afresh. "If everything will be in accordance with the letter of the law, then on Friday there will be a preliminary hearing,” Elena Savva added, according to RIA Novosti.

The website of Pervomaisky district court states that the latest hearing in the case, planned for 4 November, was postponed because of the illness of Judge Vasily Makhov. There was no information as to when the next hearing might take place.

The fact that the court will begin to hear the criminal case against Mikhail Savva afresh because of the change in judge has been confirmed by Savva’s lawyer Marina Dubrovina.

"Presiding Judge Vasily Makhov for reasons of illness has been substituted by another judge, Valentina Popova. In accordance with the Criminal Procedural Code, when the make up of a court is changed, the hearing of a criminal case must start from the beginning,” Marina Dubrovina said. She also confirmed that the new hearing was to be held on 20 December.

Marina Dubrovina also said that during the trial almost three quarters of the materials of the case had been considered.

"We were near the end,” Dubrovina said, explaining that it only remained to hear a number of witnesses for the prosecution, before moving on to final pleadings and thence to the judgment, Interfax reported.

There have been no comments from the regional FSB that conducted the investigation into the case, from the prosecutors, or from the court.