Italy rejects Romanyuk extradition request
Romanyuk and his main opponent Tetyana Zasukha
A Milan court has refused to extradite Viktor Romanyuk, parliamentary candidate in the problematic single-mandate electoral district No. 94. Romanyuk himself informed the Ukrainian media of this. He asserted that the court had not seen any crime in the documents provided by the Prosecutor General’s Office, and that the case against him was politically motivated.
Romanyuk said that he will wait until the re-run is announced for No. 94 and plans to stand for election.
He is also awaiting consideration of his application to the European Court of Human Rights.
As reported, Viktor Romanyuk was arrested in Italy on 22 March after being placed on the Interpol wanted list. A detention order was issued by the Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv just days later with an extradition request following.
The criminal investigation concerned an alleged attempt to steal State property (the Indar Insulin Factory) on a large scale. It dated back to 2008 and Romanyuk was not a suspect when he ran for parliamentary office in October 2012,
In the October parliamentary elections, Viktor Romanyuk stood for election from the opposition Batkivshchyna Party, He was clearly in the lead until his main opponent, Party of the Regions candidate, and wife of the former Kyiv Regional Governor, Tetyana Zasukha, applied to the court to have the election results in some precincts cancelled.
The civic election watchdog OPORA expressed concern at the time over different court rulings in analogous cases. It pointed out that a court had rejected two of Zasukha’s applications when examining them in the presence of the media and with a large number of Romanyuk supporters outside the courtroom. Identical applications were however allowed.
The cancellation of 30 thousand votes was scandalous enough for the Central Election Commission to decide that a re-election was needed.
In January Romanyuk applied to the European Court of Human Rights against the decision by District Election Commission No. 94 to invalidate the voting at 27 polling stations. He asserts that this decision violated his right to free elections.