7 Feb 2020 15:45

Lawyer for nurse suspected in Pavel Sheremet's murder hands over alibi evidence to Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office

KYIV. Feb 7 (Interfax) - The defense team for military nurse Yana Duhar, who is suspected of a role in the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet, has handed over new evidence of her non-involvement in this crime to the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, demanding the closure of her case.

"We have submitted a motion to Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Chumak, because it was his decision that gave the investigation additional time to check the alibi evidence, including Yana Duhar's, that was provided by the defense team," lawyer Mykola Orekhovsky said at a press briefing outside the Prosecutor General's Office on Friday.

A psychophysiological examination involving a lie detector test was carried out in December 2019 on the defense team's initiative, Orekhovsky said.

"The results that were received make it possible to conclude that Duhar's testimony that she was not involved in tracking Pavel Sheremet's movements corresponds to the traces kept in her memory. There is 99.9% certainty that she didn't discuss with Andriy Antonenko steps to plot and perpetrate the killing of Pavel Sheremet," Orekhovsky said.

Furthermore, according to the lawyer, five witnesses who were interviewed by the legal team during the court session with the permission of the Pechersky District Court's judge confirmed Duhar's alibi.

The defense team also calls into question the examinations conducted during the inquiry and their conclusions.

"Yana Duhar's height is considerably different from the height of the girl caught on those videos in July 2016 and who is referred to as an 'intelligence agent'," Orekhovsky said.

A car driven by Sheremet was blown up in central Kyiv early on July 20, 2016. The journalist died at the scene soon after the explosion.

On December 12, 2019, police conducted a number of searches and notified several people of their status as suspects in the Sheremet assassination case. Later that day, the National Police and Interior Ministry held a news briefing, at which President Volodymyr Zelensky also spoke, to inform the public about a number of interim investigation findings and the suspects' names.

Duhar, volunteer and children's doctor Yulia Kuzmenko, and musician and veteran of the antiterrorist operation in Donbas Andriy Antonenko were officially notified of their status as suspects in Sheremet's killing. The spouses Vladyslav and Inna Hryshchenko, also Donbas war veterans, were detained as suspects in a different case but were named as possibly having relation to Sheremet's killing as well.

Ukrainian National Police deputy chief and criminal police chief Yevhen Koval said the investigation was inclined to assume that the primary motive of Sheremet's assassination was an attempt to destabilize the sociopolitical situation in the country.

Kyiv's Pechersky District Court ruled on December 13 to take Kuzmenko into pretrial custody and place Duhar under house arrest at least until February 8, 2020. On December 14, the court also ordered Antonenko's pretrial arrest until February 8, 2020.

On January 24, the Pechersky District Court partly granted the defense team's motion and replaced Duhar's pre-trial restriction by nighttime house arrest. On February 5, the court extended her nighttime house arrest until April 4.