Oleh Panas released


On Dec 17 the Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv released Lviv photographer and EuroMaidan activist, Oleh Panas, effectively in exchange for a plea of „guilty”.  The agreement reached is that Panas pleads guilty, is fined 850 UAH and does not end up with a criminal record.

An opposition MP has already offered to pay the fine.  As reported, over a hundred artists, journalists and public figures had formally declared their readiness to act as guarantors to get Panas released.

Panas was on EuroMaidan on 30 Nov this year and took photos both shortly before Berkut riot police arrived and began brutally beating peaceful protesters, and during the savage attack.  His photos were soon used by Reuters, and many believe that this was the reason for his arrest.

On Dec 9, Panas was seized on a Lviv street and taken to Kyiv.  His lawyer was not allowed to see him before the court hearing which remanded him in custody for two months.  The charges – of organizing and taking part in riots - pertain to the disturbances outside Bankova St on Dec 1. 

The only witnesses in the case were law enforcement officers. As reported, video footage from Bankova St on Dec 1 shows Berkut officers charging and brutally beating those who crossed their path, as well as people lying on the ground showing no resistance.  Around 7 of the first 9 people ended up in hospital, under guard, with serious injuries as a result. 

Panas’ father had immediately stated that his son was not even at the demonstration on Dec 1, having been injured during the Berkut attack the previous morning.  

Lawyers have reported that detainees have been placed under severe pressure to “confess”. Two of the men badly injured, then accused of organizing riots – Yury Bolotov and Vladislav Zahorovko, both of whom have young children, have thus far agreed to such a deal.

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