After a lengthy hearing, Kyiv court fails to rule on any measures against former Ukrainian President Poroshenko

18 January 2022, 08:20 AM

Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court on Jan. 17 did not rule to arrest former Ukrainian president and current European Solidarity MP Petro Poroshenko, who had returned to Ukraine in the morning.

After a hearing that lasted almost 10 hours, accompanied by controversy and the chants of Poroshenko’s supporters, a Kyiv judge failed to issue a ruling on any measures of restraint against the former president, and instead postponed the hearing of the case until Jan. 19.

The prosecution had asked for detention measures to be taken against Poroshenko, including a record-high bail of UAH 1 billion ($36 million).

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Poroshenko, who had been outside the country on what his representatives said was a diplomatic tour to Poland and Turkey, returned to Ukraine on Jan. 17 from Warsaw, landing in Kyiv at 0900.

Speaking at a rally packed with his supporters at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv International Airport after passing through border checks, Poroshenko claimed that border guards had attempted to prevent him from entering Ukraine and that there had been a 15-minute delay in returning his passport.

Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) later stated that their agents were trying to serve a court summons to Poroshenko, but that the politician had ignored the documents.

Following the rally, Poroshenko arrived at Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court, which began a hearing on possible pre-trial detention measures following a 40-minute delay. Pechersk District Court is the usual venue for high-profile political cases in Ukraine.

Poroshenko has been charged with treason and providing support to terrorists over what the SBI alleges was a scheme to sign contracts for coal supply from Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, supposedly making “…Ukraine’s energy supply dependent on Russia and the Russia-controlled self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.”

Since the charges against Poroshenko were made public, his attorneys have said they object to his status as a “suspect,” since he had not been served with charge papers. At the hearing in Kyiv, Poroshenko’s attorneys also asked the court to give them an opportunity to examine the case materials, as they claim they had not been able to do so because of the conflict with SBI agents at the airport.

Judge Oleksiy Sokolov, presiding over the hearing, allowed for a break to meet the defense’s request.

Afterwards, the defense attempted to challenge the legality of the charges against the former president.

Poroshenko alleged that the attempt to serve him with official notice of his charges, before traveling to Europe, amounted to “(obstruction of) political activity.”

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry had put Poroshenko on the Ukrainian national wanted list, stating that he disappeared on Dec. 24, 2021 – despite Poroshenko publicly leaving the country on Dec. 17, and giving several press interviews while abroad.

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