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Arrested Ukrainian opera director vows to fight Putin ‘oppression’ | Italy

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A Ukrainian opera director arrested in Italy at Russia’s request has pledged to proceed his combat towards the “oppression” of Vladimir Putin’s authorities as requires his launch mount from all over the world.

Yevhen (Eugene) Lavrenchuk, 39, was detained in Naples on a world arrest warrant issued by Russia throughout a stopover within the metropolis on 17 December.

Russia is searching for his extradition for monetary crimes allegedly dedicated when he was director of the Polish Theatre in Moscow. Lavrenchuk left Russia for Ukraine in 2014 in protest at Russia’s annexation of Crimea that year.

Lavrenchuk informed the courtroom of enchantment in Naples that he was being persecuted by Russia for publicly voicing his dissent. He claimed the persecution led to him being overwhelmed up outdoors the Odessa opera and ballet theatre, the place he was a director, in December 2020. He has refused extradition, saying that he feared being “exposed to discrimination”.

Lavrenchuk is being held at Poggioreale jail in Naples, the place he was visited this week by Francesco Emilio Borrelli, a regional councillor for the Europa Verde get together.

“I spoke to him for about 15 minutes during a prison check, which we do periodically,” Borrelli stated.

“He was calm and in good form; he came across as a person aware of living an injustice and that in the end he will be proven right. He said he’s determined to return to his country to fight against the oppression of Putin’s regime.”

Lavrenchuk had by no means been to Italy earlier than touchdown at Capodichino airport on 15 December on a stopover in his journey between Tel Aviv, the place he had been visiting his sister, and Lviv in Ukraine.

He was arrested at a lodge near the airport after offering his ID at check-in. By legislation, inns in Italy need to scan a replica of a visitor’s ID doc; the main points are then despatched to the native police for registration.

“Police found his name had been inserted into an international search system with a mandate for his arrest,” stated Alfonso Tatarano, Lavrenchuk’s lawyer. “He didn’t know he was being looked for by Russian authorities or that his name was in this system.”

The case comes as fears mount over the potential of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Liudmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian parliamentary commissioner for human rights, stated on Thursday that Lavrenchuk’s arrest was not made on the idea of a “red notice” by Interpol, as was initially reported, however on a round notice distributed to a restricted variety of nations.

“This testifies to Russia’s abuse of the Interpol charter and its misuse as an instrument of hybrid warfare for the politically motivated persecution of Ukrainians,” Denisova wrote on her Fb web page.

The warrant for Lavrenchuk’s arrest was issued by a Moscow courtroom in July 2020. The accusations towards him date again eight years, when he allegedly defrauded one among his college students by asking for cash to pay for repairs to the Polish Theatre.

Nevertheless, it’s not but clear to Italian judicial authorities whether or not the courtroom had issued a conviction for his alleged crimes or a preliminary injunction. The crime is punishable by 10 years in jail.

“We don’t yet have the complete records of the proceedings,” stated Tatarano.

Russia has 40 days, from the day it was notified of Lavrenchuk’s arrest, to ship its formal extradition request and associated paperwork. The case is being dealt with by Luigi Riello, the chief public prosecutor of the Naples appeals courtroom.

“He will evaluate on what basis the request for extradition is being made before submitting his evaluation to the court,” stated Tatarano. “If there is concrete danger that Lavrenchuk will receive unfair treatment or that the accusations are based on political opinions, the court will reject the extradition request. But we have to prove this, and I think we can.”

Tatarano will enchantment for Lavrenchuk to be both launched from custody or positioned below home arrest pending the result of the authorized course of.

A Fb web page calling for Lavrenchuk’s launch has attracted over 1,400 followers whereas members of the Ukrainian group in Italy are planning to protest in Milan on Saturday. “We are mobilising to show how the Russian regime exploits legal cases against Ukrainian citizens for its own political purposes,” the protest organisers wrote on Fb.

PEN America, the writers’ affiliation, has additionally known as for Lavrenchuk’s instant launch.

“The circumstances of Lavrenchuk’s detention – he was detained in Naples while transferring to a flight to Lviv after travelling from Tel Aviv – are a disturbing echo of Belarus’s move last year to force a Ryanair flight to land in order to arrest blogger Raman Protasevich,” stated Polina Sadovskaya, PEN America’s Eurasia director. “In this case, Lavrenchuk is one of the most visible voices against the Russian annexation of Crimea in the Eurasian theatre community, and Russia’s extradition request against him bears the hallmarks of politically motivated repression.”

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