Yesterday (22 September), Nadezhda Savchenko was taken for her hearing to a courtroom in the town of Donetsk. [not THE Donetsk, in Donbass; this is a different town in Russia, in the Rostov region, called Donetsk; it’s not that far from Ukrainian border, however)
According to RAPSI, Savchenko’s trial was continued until 29 September. Apparently the hearing was just to lodge a plea; Savchenko lodged a plea of “Not Guilty”. She is accused of two charges of assisting in the murder of two Russian citizens, Anton Voloshin and Igor Korneliuk.
This piece in PolitNavigator gives more details what went on in the courtroom. Savchenko is being represented by Russian defense attorney Nikolai Polozov; and it became clear on the very first day, that Polozov will present a sensationalistic political, instead of technical, defense.
In fact, Savchenko’s supporters filled the courtroom and clustered outside, dressed in embroidered Ukrainian blouses and wearing t-shirts and baseball caps with the slogan to “Free Savchenko”. It was reported that Savchenko made highly political statements to the court and media, namely: “Russia has seized Crimea and invaded Syria. And yet at the same time Russia has refused to admit that I am a prisoner of war. Russia is ignoring international law.”
It was noted that Savchenko’s speech-making had little or no impact on the judges, who turned down her request to dismiss the charges.