Court releases pending trial five of those accused of violence in Kharkiv on 16 December
According to information from the website of “Misky Dozor” [“City Watch”], a judge of the Dzherzhynsky Court in Kharkiv on Tuesday 3 April released pending trial five of those accused of involvement in the events of 16 December 2006 on 197 Klockivska St. on 16 December last year which resulted in a number of people being beaten up.
Despite the insistent call from the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor Ludmila Petrovska, the judge chose against remand in custody. He explained this as being due to the defendants having received good character references from their places of study or work, and to their having underage children.
Representative of the victims, Natalya Khorunzha, asserted that the case should be returned to the prosecutors office since four other people are now under investigation and she considered that it would be better to combine all charges into one case.
Leader of the civic organization “Misky Dozor” Vladyslav Protas stated yesterday that his organization would be seeking to have the charges changed from “hooliganism” to the Article on “mass disturbances”. He claimed that release pending trial meant that the court proceedings would be deliberately dragged out to end up being finally forgotten.
As reported, on 16 December last year after a rally in Kharkiv against the building of a shopping centre mass disturbances broke out in which a number of people (mainly security guards – translator) were beaten up. The SBU launched a criminal investigation under Article 294 § 1 of the Criminal Code (organization of mass riots accompanied by violence against individuals, as well as active participation in mass riots). Soon afterwards the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutors Office initiated a criminal investigation over professional negligence by police officers of the central department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (CD MIA) in the region
On 24 January this year the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor Vasyl Synchuk stated that the prosecutors office had terminated the investigation into the case under the article on mass riots, launched by the SBU, in the absence of elements of that crime.
Later the Verkhovna Rada was unable to create a Temporary Investigative Committee to look into the events of 16 December.