Two former subordinates of Yulia Tymoshenko released pending trial
The Kyiv Court of Appeal has freed from custody on a signed undertaking not to leave Kyiv former Head of the State Customs Service, Anatoly Makarenko and former Head of the Kyiv Regional Customs Office, Taras Shchepitko.
The change in restraint measure was explained by the court as being due to good character references and the application of important individuals, Makarenko’s poor state of health and the fact that Shchepitko has underage children. Makarenko had been in the SIZO [remand unit] for over a year.
Ihor Didenko however remains in custody. The former First Deputy Head of Naftohaz Ukraine fails the same charges as the other two – of “wrongful customs processing of natural gas”. In his case he is accused of releasing from customs and transferring to State ownership over 11 million cubic metres of gas which the International Court of Arbitration in Stockholm decided belonged to RosUkrEnergo, owned by Dmitry Firtash. Didenko was arrested on 9 July 2010 as part of a criminal investigation into the damage Ukraine suffered over the law suit brought by RosUkrEnergo, against Naftohaz in Stockholm.
His case was combined into one with those against Makarenko and Shchepitko.
The court here explained its rejection as being because Didenko has a permit to live in Spain, and because he could try to influence the investigation.
Yulia Tymoshenko welcomed the release of Makarenko and Shchepitko saying that they had acted in Ukraine’s interests against people who had unlawfully appropriated State property – gas.
As reported Yulia Tymoshenko is presently on trial over the Ukrainian – Russian gas contracts of 2009. She is charged with exceeding her authority and official powers in signing those contracts and is threatened with a sentence of between 7 and 10 years imprisonment.
Earlier one of the ministers in her government, Bohdan Danylyshyn received political asylum in the Czech Republic. The former Head of the State Committee on the Material Reserve, Mykhailo Pozhydanov has received a permit to live in Austria and has applied for political asylum.
The former Head of the State Treasury Tetyana Slyuz is on the wanted list. Her deputy Tetyana Hryshchun has been remanded in custody.
The opposition call such actions by the Yanukovych regime political persecution.
Similar concerns have been expressed by human rights groups and European and US bodies.
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