Justice takes action – Ukraine: Ex-minister arrested for treason

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A Ukrainian court has ordered the arrest of a former minister on suspicion of pro-Russian sentiments and treason. Nestor Schufrych is accused, among other things, of having maintained contacts with a fugitive Ukrainian parliamentarian.

“This is exactly what the authorities need,” Schufrytsch said Friday in a video released by the Suspilne television channel, as court officials handcuffed him and led him away.

According to media reports, his lawyers plan to appeal the decision. In concrete terms, Schufrych is accused of having had contact with ex-MP Viktor Medwetschuk, who fled to Russia, and of following instructions from Russia. Although his party was banned after the outbreak of the Russian war of aggression, Schufrych remained a member of the Verkhovna Rada and also chaired the parliamentary committee on freedom of expression.

Ties with Yanukovych
Schufrych has been a longtime ally of former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2014. After the first Russian aggression against Ukraine, Shufrych repeatedly criticized the leadership in Kiev, accusing them of not being interested in implementing the Minsk agreements to resolve the conflict in the Donbass.

Schufrytsch also expressed his criticism as a Ukrainian member during meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. A corresponding request to speak at the 2017 meeting was greeted with joy by the head of the Russian delegation, Pyotr Tolstoy.

Businessman also in the crosshairs of the judiciary
“It is hopeful that there are still political forces in Ukraine that are able to soberly assess the situation in the country and not just engage in anti-Russian rhetoric,” he wrote at the time about the Ukrainian opposition parliamentarian.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian judiciary also tightened its grip on jailed businessman Ihor Kolomoisky, whose media empire made a major contribution to the career of comedian and later President Volodymyr Zelensky. A court increased Kolomoiskyj’s bail to the equivalent of $105 million.

In addition to money laundering, he is now also accused of forging documents, illegally taking over property by an organized group and acquiring property under questionable circumstances. The original bail was the equivalent of almost $14 million.

Source: Krone

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