Moscow Court Extends Arrest of All 24 Ukrainian Sailors Detained in Kerch Strait
Moscow’s Lefortovo Court has remanded in custody all of the 24 Ukrainian sailors detained last November for illegally entering Russian territorial waters in the Kerch Strait, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.
"[They shall] remand in custody for the next three months," the court ruling read with regard to each accused sailor.
The investigation has ended and the defendants and their lawyers have begun studying the case files.
Before the hearing, the prosecutor and major cases detective filed a request with the court to hold a closed-door hearing into the motion of the FSB (Federal Security Service) to extend the arrest, as an open hearing "might lead to a disclosure of official secrets and the secrecy of investigation."
The defendants’ lawyers insisted on holding an open hearing, referring to the fact that the investigation had ended and the evidence had been collected. The court met the prosecution’s motion. The sailors were laconic while answering the judge’s questions and seized a chance to talk with their friends and relatives before the hearing.
Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova, representatives of the Ukrainian and European consulates came to the courtroom to support the sailors.
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