A jury in Grozny, Chechnya, has found the two Ukrainians I have written about (1, 2, 3) guilty of fighting against Russian troops on the side of Chechen separatists in 1994-95. One of the men seems to have literally lost his mind from the inhumane treatment he endured in Russian captivity.
Regarding the jury’s independence, consider the following. A jury member is a resident of Chechnya. Her identity is known to the republic’s authorities. Said authorities have a history of resorting to, let’s say, extrajudicial means in dealing with their opponents or with dissidents. The rest is clear. The judge’s behavior was also predictable.
Why does Moscow need these trials? To have more leverage over Poroshenko’s government, possibly with a view to future prisoner exchanges. Also, to implicate more prominent Ukrainians in Chechen separatism through a bizarre legal process that Moscow appears to view as completely legit: a case that duly passed through all stages of the Russia legal system is valid to the Kremlin, no matter how absurd in essence.