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The Appeal court of the Cherkassy oblast did not change the verdict on Oleg Liashko’s case


13 May 2003

The Appeal court of the Cherkassy oblast considered the appeal handed by Oleg Liashko, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Svoboda”, and his advocate Bogdan Ferents. The court did not change the verdict issued in February 2003 by the Sosnovskiy district court of Cherkassy.

The agency ForUm informs that on 5 February 2003 the Sosnovskiy district court of Cherkassy brought in a verdict of guilty against Oleg Liashko. Liashko was accused of physical resistance to the officers of militia and prosecutor’s office during the search in the printing shop “Respublika” (part 2 Article 342 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

On the eve of this search the truck of the printing shop, which transported the 107-thousand run of the newspaper “Svoboda” to Kyiv”, was robbed by strangers, who drowned the run in the river. The next day the run was printed again, but it was confiscated by prosecutor’s officers in the course of the search. This issue, in particular, contained the materials that concerned General Prosecutor Mykhaylo Potebenko.

Yet, the prosecutor’s office started the criminal case on the misuses of the administration of the printing shop “Respublika”, in the framework of which the search was conducted. The editor-in-chief of “Svoboda” refused to give to the law-enforcers the repeatedly printed run of the newspaper. For this he was taken into the preliminary prison and condemned.

The appeal reads that the court “considered the circumstances of the case one-sidedly and incompletely”. Besides, the court mechanically moved the argumentation from the materials of the preliminary investigation to the verdict, so the verdict may not be regarded as legal.

By the request of O. Liashko the judges examined the militia video record of the events of 24 March 2002 in the printing shop. Before this the record was twice viewed during the trial in the Sosnovskiy district court. The correspondent of ForUm points out that the judges of the Appeal court could also see that the video record contained no evidence of the illegal actions of Liashko (on the contrary, Liashko was extremely polite with the law-enforcers). Yet, the record clearly shows how the militia impeded the transportation of the run from the printing house and then confiscated it without any legal grounds.

In his final plea the journalist declared: “after the examination of the video record every unbiased person should draw the conclusions opposite to the conclusions made by the prosecutor’s office”. The editor of “Svoboda” believes that the prosecutor’s officers committed a crime, when they illegally seized the run of the newspaper (which is still kept in the Cherkassy oblast prosecutor’s office), thereby inflicting to the editorial board the material damage equal to 74000 UAH. “The cases started against me and against “Respublika” is an attempt to dodge the responsibility for the committed crime”, O. Liashko said.

The judges conferred for almost an hour, after which they announced the verdict: to reject the appeal and to leave the verdict of the Sosnovskiy district court without changes.

Andriy Lubenskiy, for ForUm

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