Poroshenko interrogated by SBI, court hearing on measure of restraint postponed until Jule 8
The fifth president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has refused to testify as he was being interrogated as a suspect in the case where he is accused of the alleged abuse of power in appointing first deputy chief of Ukraine's foreign intelligence service Serhiy Semochko.
That's according to an SBI official Vadym Priymachok, an UNIAN correspondent reports.
The official added that the ex-president refused to accept summonses for other upcoming investigative actions. Detectives have handed his lawyer a motion, set to be heard by the Pechersk District Court in Kyiv, to extend the pre-trial period in the said probe up to six months.
Speaking outside the SBI HQ in Kyiv to a crowd of his supporters, Poroshenko said: "They accuse me of giving the order to counterattack in June 2014. I plead guilty. They accuse me of giving the order to warships to sail through Ukraine's Kerch Strait. Write this down: I plead guilty. They accuse me of appointing intelligence chiefs. I plead guilty."
Also, the ex-president added that he pleads guilty for signing the Minsk Agreements and for the Ukrainian church getting a tomos of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
At the court hearing later on Wednesday on selecting a measure of restraint in relation to the suspect, Poroshenko's defense team put forward a motion to recuse the entire group of prosecutors in the case, led by Prosecutor General Iryna Veneditkova, who they say has shown her bias by suggesting in her yesterday's public video address that Poroshenko come to court and "prove his innocence", which is a violation of the constitutional principle of presumption of innocence. Also, the defense states that the charges were initially handed to Poroshenko in violation of the criminal procedural code.
The judge has overruled the motion.
The court eventually postponed consideration of the measure of restraint until July 8, according to a UNIAN correspondent.
Poroshenko's lawyer Ihor Golovan told the court that, in fact, the investigation is accusing his client of issuing a presidential decree to appoint Serhiy Semochko first deputy chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Service. Golovan noted that presidential powers are exhaustive, and all of them are enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine. These powers, he says, include issuing decrees that are binding throughout the country.
Therefore, Golovan believes, only the Constitutional Court has the right to consider whether presidential decrees are consistent with the Constitution and legislation. At the same time, courts of general jurisdiction are not supposed to hear cases on the legitimacy of presidential decrees.
Another defense lawyer, Ilya Novikov, said that the proceeding should be shut down both because of a violation of the procedure when the proceeding was launched, and over a violation of criminal law, which concerns the essence of the suspicion.
In his address, Poroshenko said that the real purpose of selecting a preventive measure in the form of personal recognizance, as requested by prosecutors, was to take away his passport so that he could not go on foreign visits.
"In July-August, I have scheduled many meetings regarding the extension of sanctions against Russia. That is why they want to take my passport. You won't get my passport. This won't work out," ex-president emphasized.