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Lawyers from Rivne region rescued Roma women from going to jail for 10 years

Lawyers from Rivne region managed to get the verdict of not guilty for a group of Roma women who were accused upon five Articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. They proved that provocation from policemen took place; therefore, the evidence obtained this way was inadmissible.

According to the orders of the Regional Center for free secondary legal aid in Rivne region lawyers Mykola Leikovsky, Maksym Zozulia, Vitaly Homiuk, Valentyn Mervinsky and Maria Ridchenko protected Roma women. All five were members of the one family.

They were incriminated committing upon previous concert by a group of persons of 10 episodes of sale of especially dangerous drug; illegal storage of narcotic raw materials and strong medicines; retraction of the minor in criminal activity and storage, acquisition, transfer of explosive without the permission provided by the law. For such violations of the law women were threatened with 10-year imprisonment.

Corresponding criminal proceedings against the 4 of them were opened at the end of 2014. Till the end of the investigation and judicial proceedings the women were applied the measures of precautions that were not connected with imprisonment. Since September 2013 one of the women got detained. Subsequently cases were united in the one criminal proceeding.


Team of lawyers of Regional Center for free secondary legal aid in Rivne region: Mykola Leikovsky, Maksym Zozulia, Vitaly Homiuk, Valentyn Mervinsky and Maria Ridchenko. Photo by Coordinating Center for Legal Aid Providing.

The defense during court proceedings was based on the fact that the party of charge did not provide the appropriate and admissible evidence of offences incriminated to the accused to court. Lawyers noted that in all incriminated episodes of sale of drugs there was observed provocation of offence from the police employees therefore the evidence obtained in this regard is inadmissible.

The Dubensky city district court of Rivne region considered the arguments of the defense stated during the consideration of the case on December 11, 2015 and acquitted four women. Only one of five accused was sentenced to 2 years and a month of imprisonment and exempted from punishment in connection with the actual serving of term of the imposed sentence.

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