The Obolonskyi District Court of Kyiv has sentenced former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in absentia to 13 years in prison. Radio Liberty’s Russian service reported on 24 January that Yanukovych, who fled from Ukraine to Russia in 2014, was found guilty of high treason and complicity in aggressive war.
The court dismissed the charges that he had been complicit in a deliberate attempt to change the territorial and state borders of Ukraine.
Viktor Yanukovych himself did not attend the court session, having previously called the trial a “farce”. His attorney claims that the former politician has had an operation and is currently undergoing rehabilitation (in Russia). According to the Ukrainian press, Yanukovych has been sent at least 70 court summons. His prison sentence was given by Presiding Judge Vladyslav Devyatko.
“For multiple crimes, with the more severe punishment absorbing the less severe, a final punishment of 13 years of imprisonment is determined for Yanukovych Viktor Fedorovych. Yanukovych Viktor Fedorovych is found not guilty and acquitted of the charges according to section 5 article 27 and section 3 article 110 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code in connection with the failure to prove that the accused committed the criminal offense,” Devyatko said in his pronouncement of the verdict, as cited by Ukrinform.
Yanukovych’s attorney, Alexander Goroshinsky, said after the court session that he intends to appeal the ruling, and that the verdict is not yet legally binding.
“We will file an appeal, and hope that we will be able to establish the truth in this case, even in international instances. We will also appeal many points at the European Court of Human Rights,” Goroshinsky said, as cited by RBC-Ukraine.
The attorney stressed that he would appeal the sentence very soon.
During the court session, which began at 9:05 AM local time, the judges took turns reading the statement of reasons, including the witnesses’ testimonies and all the circumstances referred to by the prosecution and the defense.
The verdict included a reading of the testimonies of Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov, former Crimean Prime Minister Anatolii Mohyliov, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, National Security and Defense Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and others.
The verdict was given during the 90th session of Yanukovych’s trial.
The former Ukrainian President was initially accused of high treason, complicity in a deliberate attempt to change Ukraine’s borders, and complicity in aggressive warfare. His case was given to the Obolonskyi District Court of Kyiv on 4 May 2017.
One of the primary pieces of evidence in the case is a letter from Yanukovych to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to send Russian troops into Ukraine.