Odesa's Court of Appeal has acquitted local activist Serhiy Sternenko under Article 187 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (robbery).
Earlier, the court found him guilty of a seizure of UAH 300 (US$11) during abduction.
The court's ruling has been reported on Sternenko's Telegram channel.
Read alsoPresident's Office building in Kyiv vandalized during rally in support of jailed activist (Photo)"I've been acquitted under Article 187. This is the same UAH 300 for which they gave me seven years [in prison] with confiscation... It's too early to rejoice. Article 187 has disappeared, this is good. But we expect what will be said under Articles 146 and 263, according to which I face up to seven years in prison," he said.
- In 2015, Sternenko's house in the city of Odesa was searched. The activist voluntarily handed law enforcers his air gun, a collectible knife, and a noise pistol.
- 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 possession of weapons.
- 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 provides for seven years and three months in prison and confiscation of half of the convict's property.
- Rallies swept across dozens of Ukrainian cities protesting the verdict activists believe was unlawful, calling for justice in the case.
- On a separate note, several criminal cases have been brought up against Sternenko, including homicide charges over the death of Ivan Kuznetsov, a person identified as one of the attackers who assaulted Sternenko in 2018 in what Sternenko believes was an attempt on his life. Sternenko maintained that he had acted in self-defense.
- Sternenko and Demchuk were taken into custody in the courtroom and sent to a pretrial detention center. However, on April 7, Odesa's Court of Appeal ruled to put them under house arrests.
- On March 23, the lawyers filed an appeal against the verdict of Sternenko and Demchuk.