Melnychenko arrested entering Ukraine


Ukraine’s SBU [Security Service] announced on Wednesday that Mykola Melnychenko had been arrested at Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport. 

It is unclear but doubtless to be the subject of considerable speculation why Melnychenko should have returned on Wednesday knowing that he would be arrested, just days before the parliamentary elections.

Melnychenko was declared on the wanted list by the SBU in September 2011 and was detained on 2 August 2012 at Naples Airport in connection with an extradition request from the Ukrainian Interpol office (he was subsequently released). 

The detention in Naples came a month after the final court decision in Ukraine upholding termination of charges against former President Kuchma in connection with the murder of Georgy Gongadze.  This was in connection with the Constitutional Court judgement from October 2011which stated that prosecutions could not be based on information received through investigative operations carried out by people unauthorized to do so.  Major Melnychenko acted on his own initiative when he illicitly taped conversations between Kuchma and others.

While appeals against the closure of the criminal case against Kuchma were still continuing, the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv on 26 December decided that the decision by the Prosecutor General’s Office back in 2001 to initiate criminal proceedings against former Presidential guard Mykola Melnychenko had been lawful.

From 2001 to 2004 criminal investigations were initiated against Melnychenko on charges of exceeding his authority, divulging state secrets, as well as of creating artificial evidence for the prosecution. In March 2005 the investigations were terminated by Prosecutor General Piskun. In June 2011 Kuchma’s lawyers appealed to the Pechersky District Court against the termination of the criminal investigation. That appeal was allowed, and the criminal investigation against Melnychenko reinstated. 

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