Photo from UNIAN-Viktor Kovalchuk

The Shevchenkivsky District Court of Kyiv on Tuesday, February 2, has ruled to extend until April 2 the term of custody remand for former Donbas war volunteer and rock artist Andrii Antonenko aka Riffmaster, who is among suspects in the journalist Pavel Sheremet murder case.

Today, February 2, the jury considered the motion by Andrii Antonenko's defense team to alter the defendant's restraint measure, releasing him from a detention center.

Read alsoSheremet murder: Ex-Belarus KGB officer ready to testifyAs for another two suspects – Yuliia Kuzmenko and Yana Duhar – the court extended the current restraint measures as well, that is, 24/7 house arrest and check-ins, respectively.

Sheremet murder case: Details

The journalist was assassinated in a car blast in the center of Kyiv on the morning of July 20, 2016.

On December 12, 2019, police said they suspected five persons of complicity in the crime: former Donbas war volunteer and musician Andrii Antonenko, army volunteer and pediatric 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 Sheremet's assassination was to destabilize the social and political situation in Ukraine. Antonenko, Kuzmenko, and Duhar were notified of suspicion on December 12, 2019.

Ukrainian investigative journalists with the Slidstvo.info project said they had found the forensic analysis report used in the probe into the murder of Sheremet far from being unambiguous, while evidence presented by the police was not convincing. What is more, many Ukrainian activists consider the proof collected by the investigators to be insufficient.

On August 25, 2020, all three defendants demanded in court that their case be heard by the jury. Olha Holub, the chair of the panel of judges, said that since they all were facing life imprisonment, the Criminal Code allows such cases to be heard by a jury, which consists of two professional judges and three members of the jury.

On September 28, the prosecutor in the Sheremet case read out the indictment to Antonenko, Kuzmenko and Duhar in Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky district court.

On January 4, 2021, leaked audio recordings were released alleging the involvement of Belarus top security leadership in the elimination of political opponents, including the assassination in a car blast of journalist Pavel Sheremet.

The National Police of Ukraine said they had received documents and audio recordings exposing what could be possible masterminds behind Sheremet's murder.