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Kiev court sentences Yanukovich to 13 years in jail in absentia in high treason case

The court also found the former president guilty of complicity in the conduct of an aggressive war

KIEV, January 24. /TASS/. Kiev’s Obolon District Court has sentenced former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to 13 years behind bars in absentia in the high treason case.

Yanukovich was charged on three counts, specifically, high treason, complicity in conducting an aggressive war and complicity in the encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability resulting in loss of life or other grave consequences.

While reading out the indictment, the judge found evidence of Yanukovich’s guilt on the charge concerning attempts to change the country’s borders to be insufficient. "The court has withdrawn actions aimed at changing Ukraine’s borders and undermining the country’s defense capacity from the high treason part of the verdict," the judge said.

At the same time, the court found the former president guilty of high treason and complicity in conducting an aggressive war.

The court sentenced Yanukovich to 13 years in jail on the first count and to 12 years on another one. All in all, Yanukovich was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The court also ruled to uphold the decision on arresting the former president’s property. The verdict will take effect after the deadline for filing an appeal against the conviction expires in 30 days’ time.

Yanukovich case

Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in Kiev in February 2014. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, decided to relieve him of his duties and set early presidential election. This came in violation of the constitution, which clearly defines the conditions for an early termination of the president’s powers. Yanukovich was forced to leave Kiev and, later on, the country amid threats to his personal security.

Amid the conflict of law over Yanukovich’s status, the new authorities were unable to launch prosecution against him for a long time. Only in October 2016, a legal procedure was completed to strip Yanukovich of his presidential title based on the Verkhovna Rada’s special law. A month later, a criminal case was launched against the former president, who was charged with high treason, complicity in deliberate acts carried out with a view to changing the state border and complicity in conducting an aggressive war.