Metropolitan Epifaniy confers the Order of Archangel Michael on released National Guardsman Markiv
"Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Vitaly Markiv personally. (...) On behalf of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine conferred on Vitaly a high award - the Order of the Holy Archangel Michael of God, I degree," the Metropolitan wrote on his Facebook page on November 10, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
He noted that all 1,222 days while Markiv was behind bars in Italy, the OCU "prayerfully supported him, as well as every Ukrainian soldier or hostage who was unfairly imprisoned."
According to Metropolitan Epifaniy, Vitaly visited St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery for the first time, and they paid tribute to the fallen heroes. The latter fought for the independence and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state at the wall of memory.
As reported, on November 3, Milan Court of Appeal issued an acquittal in the Markiv case. On November 4, he returned to Ukraine with representatives of the Ukrainian delegation.
National Guardsman Markiv, who has dual citizenship of Ukraine and Italy, was detained in Italy on June 30, 2017, on suspicion of murdering Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli near Slovyansk, Donetsk region, in May 2014.
In 2014, a criminal case on the events that killed Rocchelli was instituted by the Security Service of Ukraine, and the investigation was suspended for the duration of the fighting. In November 2019, the case was transferred for investigation to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
Pavia prosecutor's office asked to sentence Markiv to 17 years in prison for assisting in the premeditated murder of Rocchelli. According to the prosecution, Senior Sergeant of the National Guard of Ukraine Markiv did not commit the murder but informed the leadership of the NGU about the movement of civilians at the Zeus Ceramica factory, and they, in turn, contacted the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who, according to the prosecutor's office, opened fire on a group of foreign journalists with mortars.
On July 12, 2019, the Italian court sentenced Markiv to 24 years in prison, finding him guilty of facilitating the premeditated murder of Rocchelli. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Arsen Avakov, said that the decision of the Italian court was appealed.
Now Ukraine is preparing to defend Markiv's innocence in the Italian Court of Cassation after the prosecution and the injured party filed a corresponding complaint, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova said.