Family and friends of Vladimir Kokorev, a Spanish entrepreneur of Russian-Jewish origins, met with MEPs this week to highlight the plight of Kokorev, who in 2015 was arrested and put in pre-trial detention together with his wife Yulia and son Igor on the orders of a Spanish Judge.
The Kokorev family spent over 2 years in prison on Canary Islands (Spain) without a trial, a formal indictment, nor any evidence of wrongdoing and with the case declared “secret” by the Judge de Vega for 18 months while the family remained in prison.
A letter jointly signed in Strasbourg this week by MEPs Fulvio Martusciello, Barbara Matera, Aldo Pariciello and Heinz Becker expressed “bewilderment “at Spain’s treatment of Kokorev” and called upon Spain’s judicial authorities to end this “horrifying human rights violation”.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg at a round table meeting to discuss the case, Fulvio Martusciello MEP demanded “an immediate independent enquiry in to Spain’s abuse of the judicial system regarding Kokorev”.
In his address to the meeting Martusciello said “Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law, pursuant to Article 6 Paragraph 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
“I believe the key word here is ‘charged’ because Article 5 Paragraph 3 of this Convention reads that everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.
“Further to that, Article 5 Paragraph 5 states that everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.
“Let’s ponder on the words “victim of arrest” and “detention”. They are fully applicable to Kokorev whose case demonstrates that an allegedly correct detention can run over years at the stage of preliminary investigation and actually transform into the service of sentence without any court decision.
“As we can see, Spanish law enforcement agencies trample the following fundamentals of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights:
1) A person can be found guilty only after conviction by a competent court
2) Legal proceedings are conducted within a reasonable time
3) A person charged with an offence must be informed of the cause of the accusation to allow him preparing his defence.
“As I know, Mr. Kokorev has not been lodged any charges since being arrested in 2015. Which terms of pre-trial investigation are considered reasonable in the Canary islands? Two years? Five years? Ten years? This is an absurd situation and it gives grounds to question the existence of any real and motivated charges against him. Suppose Kokorev is charged of money laundering. So where is investigation of this crime? If there is none, is it lawful to talk about money laundering?
“We promise that every European citizen will be protected by law. Do we deliver our promises given to our voters? Do we always protect people, particularly, from arbitrary actions of law enforcement officers, with some of them believing that half of all people seek to circumvent their government? Our task is not only to assist law enforcement bodies in combatting crime, which is their major task, but also to control operation of these bodies and curb every attempt to violate human rights and fiddle with words.
“I believe that every violation of fundamental human rights must be thoroughly checked and investigated. And meaningful steps must be taken against every public officer who is guilty in these violations.
Everyone has only one single life to live and I wish no one would ever be the victim of a judicial failure or wrongful arrest.”
Fellow MEP Aldo Pariciello said: “I could not believe such outrageous things were possible in a European country of today until I got familiarized with the Kokorev case.
“Failures of justice or investigation do happen sometimes but the things occurring on the Canary Islands cannot be called a failure.
“These are a deliberate breach of basic rights of a European citizen to whom European laws guarantee the fastest possible and unbiased trial and a right to fair justice.
“In Kokorev’s case, I can see neither trial nor any prospects for legal proceedings.
“All I see is a senior ill man who has been tortured for two years without his guilt having been established.
“Furthermore, I cannot see any attempts to submit his guilt to judge or get at the truth of the matter. And I believe the truth is that there is no guilt.
“The investigators and the judge of the Canary islands know this but they apply every effort to dig up something against Kokorev to save face. How else can one explain that they revoked their initial money-laundering charges and began to talk about other crimes?
“Every lawyer knows that if Kokorev was extradited based on the suspicion of money laundering, he must be indicted on exactly this crime. If no charge is brought against him, the case must be terminated.”