Andrea Rocchelli: Moscow wants to arrest and try the defendant acquitted in Italy

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An arrest warrant and extradition order has been issued for Vitaly Markiv, accused of multiple murder, for the death of Andrei Mironov and the Italian photojournalist – Read the Ossigeno dossier “WARS, JOURNALISTS KILLED, IMPUNITY”- Read in English

MOSCOW, 11th DEC – by Mattia Bernardo Bagnoli – Russia ‘re-opens’ the case of Andy Rocchelli, the Italian photojournalist killed by mortar fire on May 24th, 2014 whilst reporting from Donbass (Ukraine), right at the peak of the war between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev troops. The Basmanny District Court of Moscow in fact indicted Vitaly Markiv – the Italian-Ukrainian who had been convicted in the first instance in Italy for the death of the Pavia photojournalist and his Russian colleague Andrei Mironov, and was then acquitted on appeal – for the murder of the two reporters, accepting the prosecution’s request. (see here)

“The court upheld the motion for the arrest of the absent party Vitaly Markiv under Article 105 of the Russian Criminal Code (murder of two or more people)”, announced the press service of the Court, quoted by the news agency state press Tass.

According to the court, Markiv will be held in custody for “two months” when he is arrested or extradited to Russia. The Italian-Ukrainian and former soldier of the Ukrainian National Guard was acquitted on the 3rd November 2020 by the Milan Assize Court   of Appeal for “not having committed the act”. He was therefore released from prison after more than 3 years of detention in Italy and after the first instance sentence of 24 years (issued in 2019 by the Assize Court  of Pavia).

In 2005, at the age of 16, Markiv had moved from Ukraine to the Italian region of Marche, where he was a personal trainer and DJ. In 2012 he tried to enlist in the Italian army by virtue of dual citizenship. Then, he returned to Ukraine to fight.

According to the Italian public prosecution, Markiv was the lookout  who reported as suspicious the Italian photojournalist and his group near a factory transformed into an arms depot by the pro-Russian forces, just before the hail of shots.  – He would have contributed, therefore, “materially” to help those firing. And in the attack the human rights activist (and interpreter of Rocchelli) Andrei Mironov, of Russian citizenship was also killed which  opens the door to Moscow to take an interest in the affair. This investigative hypothesis, however, was not endorsed by the judges of the Milan Assize Court  of Appeal.

The trial conducted in Italy created diplomatic tensions between Rome and Ukraine, which has always sided in defence of Markiv’s innocence. The Interior Minister Arsen Avakov came to Italy to attend the appeal process and testify “support” for the accused. Even the Italian Radical political party said it were convinced of Markiv’s innocence. In the weeks before the appeal judgement, part of the documentary ‘Crossfire’ began to circulate also in Italy, which reconstructs the last moments of Rocchelli and Mironov and depicts an alternative version to the one that emerged in the first instance trial.

For Elisa Signori, mother of the Italian photojournalist, the “correct” version of the facts was that of the Court of Pavia ““and of the Milan general prosecutor “.”We will read the reasons for the judgement and see what to do”, she declared after the acquittal.

Now the Russian procedure will be added to the thread of the Italian trial, which will probably proceed to the Supreme Court. (ANSA)

BGN / asp


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