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Yanukovich’s legal team working to ensure his safe return to Ukraine, says lawyer

On January 24, Kiev’s Obolonsky District Court sentenced Viktor Yanukovich to 13 years behind bars
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich Valeriy Matytsin/TASS
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich
© Valeriy Matytsin/TASS

KIEV, September 24. /TASS/. The lawyers for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich are working to enable him safely return to Ukraine, his lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk reported.

"He is temporarily staying on the territory of the Russian Federation. And the lawyers are carrying out activities to ensure the possibility of his stay in the motherland," he told journalists on Ukraine's Channel 5 live.

The lawyers are trying to provide all the conditions for preventing Yanukovich from being taken to prison upon return, Serdyuk said. "The main tasks set by the client - to ensure the prosecution of those responsible for Crimea’s surrender and responsible for committing the anti-constitutional power grab or coup d’etat - are being implemented now," he added.

On January 24, Kiev’s Obolonsky District Court found Yanukovich guilty of high treason and support for carrying out an aggressive war in absentia and sentenced him to 13 years behind bars. The court did not consider the guilt of the former president in encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be proven. Yanukovich himself did not take part in the process, as since February 2014 he has lived in Russia.

The former president’s lawyers called the court’s ruling groundless and taken under pressure. The lawyers appealed the verdict in the court. Kiev Court of Appeals added some important evidence provided by the lawyers to the case at the September 23 session and declared a break until September 30. That said, the court denied the lawyers’ motion to provide Yanukovich’s participation in the case through video conference as international legal help.