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Scuffle occurs outside Ukrainian court considering Kharkiv mayor’s case

May 18, 2015, 13:40 UTC+3 KIEV

The mayor of Kharkiv is accused of illegal deprivation of freedom, torture and threats of homicide

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Gennady Kernes in court

Gennady Kernes in court

© Sergey Kozlov/TASS

KIEV, May 18. /TASS/. Activists and police clashed outside a court building in central Ukraine’s Poltava on Monday where the jury is considering the case of Kharkiv mayor Gennady Kernes, local media reports said.

The mayor of the northeastern Ukrainian city is accused of abducting Maidan activists and abuse against them.

"Journalists are not allowed into the hall and there is no room for everyone there. A scuffle occurred between the activists and police officers," the Kolo newspaper reported.

Earlier in the day, Kernes was evacuated from the courtroom after a threat of an attack against him. The Radio Liberty reported that court guards saw a protester outside the building carrying arms.

An advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister, Anton Geraschenko, said Kernes was trying to avoid trial using "provocations."

In late April, the Kiev district court in Poltava postponed the hearing into the case against Kernes until May 18 as the defendant was absent.

In March last year, the mayor of Kharkiv was accused of illegal deprivation of freedom, torture and threats of homicide. The Pechora district court in Kiev then restricted his freedom of movement.

In April 2014, Kernes was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt and the court changed the measure of restraint for him so that he could undergo treatment in Israel. In late July, the prejudicial inquiry was suspended.

On March 31, 2015 the Kharkiv court resumed the consideration of the case.

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