Former Governor Avakov’s appeal rejected
The Kharkiv Regional Court of Appeal has rejected the appeal brought by Arsen Avakov’s lawyers against the detention order issued by the Chervonozavodsy District Court in Kharkiv.
Arsen Avakov, leader of the Kharkiv regional branch of the opposition Batkivshchyna Party, former Governor of the Kharkiv Region and close rival to Gennady Kernes in the 2010 Mayoral election has also been placed on the international wanted list.
His lawyer, Yury Vishnevetsky told journalists on Monday, after the court hearing, that the choice of detention is in breach of the Criminal Procedure Code since no legally established measures for summonsing him were carried out following the announcement on 26 January that a criminal investigation had been initiated against the opposition politician. He said that Avakov’s family have stated and the file material shows that no efforts were taken to question Avakov before the choice was made of a restraint measure which should only be used where there are serious grounds for believing that the person will obstruct the investigators, try to divert the course of justice or abscond
A criminal prosecution was initiated against Arsen Avakov on 26 January under Article 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code (exceeding power and official authority with grave consequences). This followed reports on 6 January that a criminal investigation had been initiated against officials from the Kharkiv Regional State Administration and from the Kharkiv Regional Office of the State Agency for Land Resources over alleged land fraud in 2009. The Prosecutor then stated that checks were carried out based on a request from the current Kharkiv Regional State Administration on 3 January 2012 on the signing and issuing of state ownership acts for land plots to a limited liability company.
This resulted in a criminal investigation being initiated in connection with “the illegal disposal through abuse of office and forgery in 2009 of almost 55 hectares of state-owned land worth more than 5.5 million UAH."
Information about the appeal hearing reported by UNIAN