Court Lifts House Arrest against Activist Ratushnyi

A+ A-

Kyiv Appeals Court lifts house arrest against Roman Ratushnyi – activist, head of Save Protasiv Yar civil society initiative.

Source: Roman Ratushnyi Facebook page

The fact surfaced in the course of the court hearing on April 21, 2021, reports ZMINA correspondent.

Activist’s defense lawyer, Yevheniia Zakrevska, informed the court that shortly before famous Ukrainian artists – poets, prose writers, painters, actors — expressed readiness to go bail for the defendant with Serhii Zhadan, Yurii Andruhovych, Oleh Shulha (nom de guerre – Banderas), Rymma Ziubina, Sonia Sotnyk, Andrii Yermolenko and others being among them. 

Actor, TV anchor, public figure Serhii Prytula, documentary filmmaker Zhanna Maksymenko-Dovhych, MP from Voice party Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, poet, journalist, TV producer Dmytro Lazutkin  personally arrived at court to support Ratushnyi. They also confirmed their intention to the judges to take the activist on bail, as they were sure that he would not hide from the investigation.   

Defense lawyer was operating with the fact that description of events mentioned in the notice of charges did not correspond to the declared article of the Criminal code, using it as an argument to cancel Ratushnyi’s round-the-clock house arrest which involved wearing of an electronic bracelet. Also the technical expertise confirmed that the text of the notice of charges was corrected.

Besides there wasn’t a piece of evidence suggesting that the activist had anything to do with the act incriminated to him, believes Zakrevska.

At the very same time the human rights advocate emphasized that the activist was never hiding and did not plan to hide from the investigation. According to her the absence of such risks has been proven by the defendant.

“Out of all the suspects in the case Roman Ratushnyi was assigned the strictest pre-trial restrictions due to no clear reasons as he was not committing any provocative actions which stood out,” – mentioned the lawyer.

According to her, this also indicates pressure on the activist. 

The court took into account the arguments of the defense and satisfied the appeal of the defense to cancel the pre-trial restriction measure for Ratushnyi, denying investigator’s request. As of now no judicial restraint has been selected. 

It is worth reminding that the notice of charges was issued to Ratushnyi as a result of his participation in a rally in support of Odessa activist Serhii Sternenko under the Presidential Office on March 20. Two articles were incriminated to him: hooliganism committed by a group of persons with the use of firearms or bladed weapon or other objects specially adapted or prepared in advance for inflicting bodily harm (part 4 Article 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), as well as intentional destruction or damage to property caused by arson, explosion or other generally dangerous means or property damage of a particularly large scale.

The first article implies the punishment of three to seven years of imprisonment while the second one would result in three to ten years behind bars.

Pechersk District Court of Kyiv placed the activist under 24-hour house arrest on March 29.

Ratushnyi believes that deputy head of the Presidential Office, Andrii Smyrnov, stands behind the charges served.  The activist called it revenge for his activities to protect Protasiv Yar from illegal construction.

Panel of judges of Kyiv Court of Appeal, which previously released a key witness in the case of the downing of MH17 over Donbass Volodymyr Tsemakh to Russia, comprised of judges Tetiana Frytch, Olha Yurdyha and Yurii Slyva, was to consider an appeal against the activist’s pre-trial restriction on April 08. The hearing was though postponed to April 21 due to untimely delivery of documents by Pechersk District Court.