SBU to probe into police's attempt to plant fake evidence at Belarus businessman's house in Kyiv (Video)
Kyiv's prosecutors have opened a criminal case on charges of abuse of office by police officers from the city's Holosiyivsky district police station during a raid on a Kyiv-based house of Belarusian businessman Timofey Kokhnovich, 43, living in Ukraine in exile, and his further detention.
The investigation will be conducted by the SBU Security Service of Ukraine, the press service of the prosecutor's office in Kyiv reported.
The policemen are facing charges under article 365 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, i.e. abuse of power or misuse of office.
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Kokhnovich, who received refugee status in Ukraine in 2010 and got his Ukrainian passport in 2016 after all required verification and vetting, accused Kyiv police officers of planting fake evidence during a search in his house on December 29, 2017, in an attempt to extort a $50,000 bribe from him. Before 2008, Kokhnovich, a citizen of Belarus, lived in Belarus, he was doing business there and took part in the financing of the Belarusian opposition.
The search and the moment of planting bullets were recorded by video surveillance cameras. The footage was shared by Ukrainian journalist Evgeniy Plinskiy on Facebook.
According to the journalist's materials, a group of 26 law-enforcement officers, including armed S.W.A.T. members, arrived at Kokhnovich's house at almost 8 o'clock in the morning on December 29. The formal reason for the search was suspicion of the illicit possession of firearms and ammunition. The investigator is Oleh Yakovchenko. Acting chief of the criminal police department of the Holosiyivsky police station Serhiy Tychyna was also present on the scene together with other police investigators from the Holosiyivsky police stations Ihor Dubrovsky, Taras Kapustiansky, and Vakhid Bairamov.
The journalist claims the search was conducted in violation of legislation, in particular, search witnesses had no documents and were under the influence of alcohol.
The footage shows a man planting the fake evidence in a vase made of glass in the dining room. The man later came up to Yakovchenko to probably inform him about the place where the "evidence" was "stored." Tychyna himself "found" the "evidence" – 11 bullets.
Plinskiy says Kokhnovich was de facto detained not on charges of the illicit possession of ammunition but in pursuance of a request from the Belarusian authorities, which dates back to 2008.
After Kokhnovich's detention, his "kids were left at the house with a group of armed law enforcers," Plinskiy wrote in a comment to the footage.
When the 60-hour term of Kokhnovich's detention without a court-approved warrant expired at 20:00 on December 31, officers of the Holosiyivsky police station refused to release him. Kokhnovich claims that when he was in a detention center, Tychyna demanded a $50,000 bribe in exchange for his release. The detainee refused to give the bribe. After the term was over, Tychyna drew up a new protocol of detention dated December 31, where Kokhnovich was mentioned as a citizen of Belarus.
At about 17:00 on January 1, 2018, Tychyna informed Kokhnovich's lawyers about court hearings on a measure of restraint in the form of a 40-day detention pending his deportation to Belarus just 24 minutes before the court's session. Plinskiy says the policeman did it deliberately not to let the lawyers be present at the hearings. Prosecutor from Prosecutor's Office No. 1 in Kyiv's Holosiyivsky district Andriy Uzdymir acted as a prosecuting attorney in the courtroom. The judge ruled not to arrest the suspect.
Kyiv's police later informed they started an internal investigation into the above-mentioned facts.