19 Jan 2022 16:30

Ukrainian court refuses to remand ex-President Poroshenko in custody

KYIV. Jan 19 (Interfax) - The Pechersky District Court of Kyiv has imposed a restraining measure in the form personal recognizance on former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the "coal case".

The court adopted this decision on Wednesday, dismissing prosecutors' motion demanding that Poroshenko be remanded in custody or post bail of one billion hryvni.

"The motion shall be dismissed. [...] Personal recognizance shall be imposed," the judge said.

After the court hearing, Poroshenko's attorney Ihor Holovan read out the court ruling, "To apply personal recognizance [as a measure of restraint] for Poroshenko [...] to appear when summoned by an investigator [...] to deposit documents entitling [Poroshenko] to travel abroad."

Talking to journalists and the public that gathered in the courtroom, Poroshenko said, "They had no hope for my arrest. They were trying to obstruct my activities [...] to discredit me in the eyes of voters."

Poroshenko also said that he would ask his lawyers to collect the court ruling. "I'm afraid, it may be too early to celebrate victory," he said.

He also said he would continue his political activities, "including international activities."

The Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigations on December 20, 2021 notified Poroshenko of being treated as a suspect in a high treason case and facilitating activities of terrorist organizations as part of a case dealing with a criminal scheme of coal supplies from the Donbas territory not controlled by Kyiv.

Viktor Medvedchuk, a parliamentarian of the Opposition Platform - For Life faction, and former Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn were earlier notified of being treated as suspects in the same case as well.

Poroshenko had been on a trip abroad since December 17, 2021. Kyiv's Pechersky District Court reviewed a prosecutor's motion and froze Poroshenko's assets, such as real estate, corporate rights, etc. officially registered to his name.

Poroshenko returned to Ukraine on January 17 and arrived at the Pechersky Court. The same day, the court reviewed prosecutors' petition seeking a restraining measure for the former president. The Prosecutor's Office demanded that Poroshenko be remanded in custody or post bail of one billion hryvni. The ex-president's lawyers, in turn, insisted that their client has no suspect status and his prosecution is politically motivated and lacks any legal grounds.

The judge listened to the participants in the proceedings and then adjourned the session to deliberate a decision. The court, however, did not pronounce its ruling on January 17, but rescheduled a session for January 19.