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Kiev court turns down Yanukovich’s appeal to be questioned in videoconference mode

December 27, 2016, 1:24 UTC+3
Yanukovich's lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk said he is sure the court’s ruling was passed under political pressure
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Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

KIEV, December 26. /TASS/. A Kiev district court has turned down former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s appeal to question him in the videoconference mode, Yanukovich’s lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk told TASS on Monday.

"Viktor Yanukovich personally appealed to be questioned.  It is strange but both the court and the prosecutor’s office refused to hear his testimony (in the videoconference mode)," he said.

According to Serdyuk, the court substantiated its refusal by saying "once there is a lawyer, there is no point in questioning the suspect." Such an approach, he stressed, violates his client’s rights. "It is a blatant violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, it violates the principles of criminal proceedings since the right to speak to court and give testimony is an absolute and inviolable right of each citizen of Ukraine, like in any other country," the lawyer said. "The fact that the court turned down the appeal of Yanukovich’s lawyers for further questioning means that it is unwilling to establish the truth," he said.

Serdyuk said he is sure the court’s ruling was passed under political pressure.

During a court hearing of the case of the 2014 Maidan shootings on November 28, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko read out a notification on opening a criminal case against Yanukovich on charges of high treason. The former president was at the moment in Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don from where he answered questions in the videoconference mode. Lutsenko said a relevant notification has been referred to Russia. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office summed Yanukovich as a witness.

On December 15, a court in Kiev issued permission to the Office of the Prosecutor General to arrest Yanukovich on charges of high treason. Vitaly Serdyuk said on the same day the defense would appeal the ruling in the courts of various instances up to the European Court for Human Rights.

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