The Odesa Court of Appeals has partially satisfied a motion filed by the lawyers of activist Serhiy Sternenko, having overturned the verdict of the court of first instance in the case of the kidnapping of anti-Maidan activist Serhiy Shcherbych, and delivered a new verdict.
The court overturned the charges brought under Article 187 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (robbery), an UNIAN correspondent reported. Sternenko was acquitted on this count.
At the same time, he was found guilty under Article 146 of the Criminal Code (illegal imprisonment or kidnapping). However, due to the expiration of the statute of limitations for prosecution, the punishment on this count is not applicable to him.
The court also found Sternenko guilty under Article 263 of the Criminal Code (illegal possession of weapons, ammunition, supplies or explosives). During a raid on his house, police seized one 5.45mm bullet. On this count, the court sentenced him to three years in prison with the replacement of the punishment by one year's probation.
The verdict of the court came into force immediately after its announcement and could be appealed to the Supreme Court within three months from the date of its announcement.
- In 2015, Serhiy Sternenko's house in the city of Odesa was searched. The activist voluntarily handed his air gun, a collectible knife, and a noise pistol over to law enforcers.
- The investigation was launched following a report by a local elected official, an anti-Maidan activist, Sergei Shcherbych, who said he had been abducted and illegally held. Shcherbych claimed Sternenko's intention was to rob him of UAH 300 (about US$11 at the current forex rate).
- Sternenko was served with charge papers and put into custody before being bailed out.
- Later, the activist was also accused of illegal firearm possession.
- Odesa's Prymorsky District Court on February 23, 2021, passed a guilty verdict in the case of activist Serhiy Sternenko, as well as his accomplice, Ruslan Demchuk, both of whom have been convicted of abduction. The ruling on Sternenko provided for seven years and three months in prison and confiscation of half of the convict's property.
- Sternenko was found guilty of committing criminal offenses under Part 2 of Article 146 (illegal imprisonment or kidnapping), Part 2 of Article 187 (robbery) and Part 1 of Article 263 (illegal handling of weapons, ammunition or explosive substances). The punishment was imposed under Article 187 and Article 263, since the statute of limitations for prosecution under Article 146 had expired by then.
- Sternenko and Demchuk were taken into custody in the courtroom and sent to a pretrial detention center. However, on April 7, 2021, Odesa's Court of Appeals ruled to place them under house arrest.
- On March 23, 2021, the lawyers filed an appeal against the verdict against Sternenko and Demchuk.