7 Oct 2019 20:06

Kharkiv woman gets 11-year prison term for blowing up rock pub in 2014

KHARKIV. Oct 7 (Interfax) - The Kyivskyi District Court of Kharkiv on Monday found Maryna Kovtun guilty of an explosion at the Stena rock pub in November 2014, and sentenced her to eleven years imprisonment.

"Punishment shall be imposed in the form of eleven years with the confiscation of all assets belonging to Kovtun," presiding Judge Viktor Popras read out the ruling.

Kovtun has been found guilty of "illegal handling of a firearm and ammunition" and "complicity in a terrorist attack."

The Court however acquitted her of encroaching on Ukraine's territorial integrity and explosions outside the Malyshev plant and the Britannia restaurant due to lack of evidence.

Each day served in custody (since November 16, 2014) until the conviction date is counted as two in prison, the judge said.

The conviction can be appealed.

The explosion at the Stena pub on November 9, 2014 left 13 people injured, the police said. A criminal inquiry was launched on the charge of an "act of terrorism resulting in grave consequences."

On November 17, 2014, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced successful completion of an operation to neutralize a group of saboteurs who operated in the Kharkiv city and region and was involved in the blast.

On February 18, 2015, the regional SBU chief, Oleksandr Pyvovar, said that most of the suspects had been swapped in a presidential peace plan with only two remaining in custody, including Kovtun, who organized the attack. On June 12, 2015, her indictment was sent to the court.

Kovtun was suspected of activities aimed at changing the national border, sabotage, committing a terrorist attack, leading a terror group, and acquisition and possession of a firearm and ammunition.

On July 5, 2018, judge Svetlana Shmadchenko, who presided over the Kovtun trial, stepped down and was replaced by Denis Neviadomskyi.

The new panel of judges decided to start the trial anew.

In early 2019, Neviadomskyi took a paternity leave and was replaced by Viktor Popras. The court decided to continue hearings despite the panel change.