“Ukrainska Pravda” suit over President’s Mezhyhirya residence at cassation level
The Media Law Institute which is representing Ukrainska Pravda journalist Serhiy Leshchenko reports that a cassation appeal was lodged on 18 May with the High Administrative Court.
Both the first instance court and court of appeal turned down the Media Law Institute’s suit seeking to get answers to the formal information request submitted by Serhiy Leshchenko to the Vyshhorod District Administration a year ago. He wanted to know, in accordance with the Public Information Act., how much President Yanukovych paid in 2010 for the 1.76 hectares in the middle of Mezhyhirya.
It is apparently this land which is directly owned by Yanukovych. The remaining 135 hectares of Mezhyhirya is leased by the firm “Tantalit” and the charity “Ukrainian Renaissance”.
The Vyshhorod District Administration confirmed that last year they sold the land to Yanukovych and asserted that they had all the relevant documents, but refused to provide the purchase agreement or even information as to the price paid. It claimed that such information “concerns the right to private property and other rights and legally protected interests of another person”, as well as the ban on unlawful intrusion into somebody’s personal and family life.
The Media Law Institute has consistently argued that the information sought is public information since it concerns both a public official and the disposal of public property. This is directly specified in the Public Information Act as information not being subject to access restrictions.
The Institute is also applying to have the timeframe for cassation appeals being submitted extended since the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal did not inform the claimant either of the proceedings being initiated, or of the court’s ruling, thus preventing the claimant from submitting the appeal within the stipulated time.