Court not overly concerned with evidence in Tax Code protester’s case


At the latest hearing into the case of Serhiy Kostakov, who is accused of damaging a car during the protest in Kyiv over the new Tax Code in November 2010, the judge refused to include a video from TV 1 + 1 on the event. According to Kostakov’s lawyer, Mykola Biryuk, the judge Krystyna Tarasyuk said that for now the court investigation was underway, and after it was finished it would be possible to suggest additional evidence, witnesses, submissions and so forth. For the same reason she turned down the application to preclude the court examination since the file does not contain a protocol of examination of the place of the event which is crucial in any criminal case. “This effectively means that first we carry out the court investigation, and later establish whether it was possible to carry out the court investigation”, Mykola Biryuk says.

The Judge also rejected the application to carry out a portrait expert test of the operational video from the event which is in the material of the case. The lawyer believes that it must be established whether Kostakov is on it at all and who damaged the car. In fact the person is standing too far from the car.

As reported, the prosecutions of protesters against the Tax Code on somewhat stretched grounds and measures taken against them are of great concern and raise concerns that the law is being used against those who asserted their right to peaceful protest.

Serhiy Kostakov has been held in custody in the Lukyanivsk SIZO No. 13 since the beginning of December 2010.  All attempts by his lawyer, family and others to get him released on a signed undertaking not to leave the place or with somebody standing guarantor, have been rejected.  From any legal point of view, it is absolutely unclear why since Serhiy is accused under Article 296 of hooliganism. It is claimed that on 22 November he damaged a car driving along a street which the protesters had blocked.  Media reports have suggested that there is no proof aside from the assertion of the car’s driver. The latter did not initially recognize Kostakov among over 200 people, but only “recalled” (or more likely invented this at the instigation of the investigator) a week later.

New information reported by Svidomo

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