Italian court releases Avakov from custody


  The head of the BYUT – Batkivshchyna faction, Andriy Kozhemyakhin announced on Thursday that the court in Italy has released Arsen Avakov from detention.

The former Kharkiv Regional Governor, ally of imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and likely successful candidate in this year’s parliamentary elections was detained on Sunday 25 March. The Ukrainian authorities initiated criminal proceedings against him at the beginning of the year over alleged “abuse of power” and he was announced on the Interpol wanted list soon after.  

Mr Kozhemyakhin was at the court hearing, together with Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of the imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

As reported, the charges against the former Governor and popular opposition politician in Kharkiv are ominously reminiscent of those against Tymoshenko, former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko and others.  The charges involve the same “abuse of power” clause which has given cause for concern regarding selective use of justice with relation to more prominent leaders of the opposition. 

There were conflicting reports throughout the day, with some asserting that Mr Avakov is under house arrest.  The decision regarding extradition is still pending.

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