Journalist murder suspect to be held in custody for two months as appeal rejected
The panel of judges of the Kyiv Court of Appeal overruled the motion put forward by defense to place Andrii Antonenko, one of the suspects in the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet under house arrest or lift all preventive measures, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
The court upheld the lower instance court's ruling to remand Antonenko in custody for two months pending trial.
As the judgment was announced, a group of activists who attended the hearing to support Antonenko were chanting "Shame!"
Yulia Kuzmenko, a pediatric surgeon suspected of complicity in the murder, was taken out of the courtroom in Kyiv by a SWAT team on Friday, December 21, after a hearing of the appeal to the prevention measure was postponed until December 24 as prosecutors did not show up.
A group of Kuzmenko's supporters, outraged over the prosecutors' failure to attend the hearing, were preventing the police from escorting the suspect back to the detention center.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Sheremet was killed in a car blast in the center of Kyiv on the morning of July 20, 2016.
On December 12, police said they suspected five persons of complicity in the crime, former Donbas war volunteer and musician Andrii Antonenko, army volunteer and paediatric surgeon Yulia Kuzmenko (nom de guerre "Lysa," or "Fox"), nurse with a paratrooper unit Yana Duhar, and a family couple of army volunteers Inna Hryshchenko ("Puma") and Vladyslav Hryshchenko ("Bucha").
Law enforcers claim that the goal of the Sheremet assassination was to destabilize the socio-political situation in Ukraine, while Antonenko was allegedly "carried away by ultranationalist ideas, cultivating the greatness of the Aryan race."
At the same time, speaking in court, Antonenko noted that he is "half-Jew", thus ridiculing the claim of his "ultranationalist" views and "promotion of Aryan race."
He also said it was not him at a CCTV footage, presented at a police briefing, showing a man near the crime scene. In particular, he noted a different shape of beard that man was sporting, lack of tattoos on his arms, and the fact that the man's ears were intact unlike Antonenko's which are fractured as a result of wrestling practices.
Minister for Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Oksana Koliada earlier said: "No matter the investigation results, the state loses, first of all, in terms of reputation,"
Koliada emphasized that the evidence "must be absolutely convincing" for everyone.