17:53 28.07.2021

Suspicions against Medvedchuk based on evidence collected by unauthorized body – lawyers

4 min read

KYIV. July 28 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Lawyers for MP Viktor Medvedchuk (Opposition Platform - For Life faction) insist that suspicions against him are based on evidence collected by an unauthorized body and point to a number of procedural violations in the case.

At a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Wednesday, Medvedchuk's lawyer Dmytro Loifman pointed out that the investigation of the criminal proceedings against Medvedchuk is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI), but in fact the investigative actions are being carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

He says that according to the territoriality of the pretrial investigation body, the petition for choosing a preventive measure should be considered not by Pechersky, but by Shevchenkivsky district court of Kyiv. "We sent a motion saying ... that this case is not under the jurisdiction of the Pechersky court, but judge Vovk [investigating judge of the Pechersky district court Serhiy Vovk], who considered the prosecutor's motion, deliberately refused the defense side, did not wait for the issue of jurisdiction to be considered by the Court of Appeal," said Loifman.

Also, the lawyer said, the petition for choosing of a preventive measure was submitted to the court untimely, in violation of the terms.

In turn, lawyer Larysa Cherednychenko drew attention to the fact that the measure of restraint in the form of house arrest was chosen on the basis that the court recognized the suspicion as justified. The very suspicion, she said, is based on the conclusions of the examinations conducted by experts from the Institute of Forensic Expertise of the SBU, and they carried out the order of the investigators of the SBU, while the SBU is not an authorized body.

"The evidence that justifies the suspicion was collected by an unauthorized body ... Such evidence cannot be used as the basis for suspicion," the lawyer emphasized.

Also, as she noted, the expert opinions are probable, not categorical.

"Competent independent legal experts gave opinions that are opposite to the conclusions provided by the prosecution. These expert opinions say that Viktor Medvedchuk is not involved in what they are trying to incriminate," Cherednychenko explained.

In addition, the lawyer said, in their petition, the prosecutors asked for an extension of the preventive measure up to two months, while the court ruled to extend the house arrest for two months. "Any sane person understands the difference between the semantic load of the prepositions 'up to' and 'for,'" she added.

"The case of Medvedchuk is acquiring a specific political nature .... There is little jurisprudence here, we are witnessing ... a process of political repression. After all, the trial ... was taking place under conditions of unprecedented pressure ... The trial, which extended Medvedchuk's term of detention under house arrest, clearly went beyond the powers granted to it. The Pechersky Court had no right to consider this case," concluded MP Renat Kuzmin (Opposition Platform – For Life faction).

As reported, on July 9, Kyiv's Pechersky District Court extended Medvedchuk's house arrest until September 7. Medvedchuk appealed this court decision. Kyiv's Court of Appeal postponed the hearing of the appeal until July 30.

Parliamentarians Medvedchuk and Taras Kozak of the Opposition Platform - For Life faction were notified on May 11 that they are suspected of high treason and attempting to misappropriate national resources in Crimea. According to Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, the suspicion against them is based on three episodes of illegal activity and cooperation with "the aggressor country."

According to investigators, Medvedchuk conspired with an official of the Russian government to extract minerals on the Black Sea shelf in 2015. Another episode of the criminal proceedings concerns the transfer of information containing state secrets to the Russian security services. The third episode of illegal activity relates to anti-Ukrainian subversive activities, in particular, devising the "anti-Ukrainian" Luch project.

On May 12, Medvedchuk arrived at the Prosecutor General's Office, read a copy of the note of suspicion presented to him, and said that he did not intend to hide from the investigation and that the suspicions are politically motivated.

Kozak, according to law enforcement agencies, is in Russia. At the same time, according to Medvedchuk, Kozak is in the territory of Belarus. Kozak has been placed on the wanted list. There is a court decision on his detention to select a restrictive measure for him.