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On October 9, court to consider Pukach's appeal for mitigation

18.09.2019, 18:50

Oleksiy Pukach, former head of the surveillance department at the Ministry of Interior, condemned to life imprisonment for murder of the journalist Georgy Gongadze, has asked the court to change his sentence to 15 years in prison. If this cassation is satisfied, Pukach will be released in the courtroom and he will be able to receive compensation from the state for a longer term, as “Detektor Media” reported citing Valentyna Telychenko, representative of Miroslav Gongadze.

Telychenko said that Oleksiy Pukach had filed appeal three years ago - in 2016. Initially, the High Specialized Court failed to consider it for almost two years, now the case has been transferred to the Supreme Court, which for almost a year has not been able to achieve the preparatory hearing and to start the hearing in the merits.

“In his appeal, what is the most significant, Pukach asked to reduce his punishment. He now has life imprisonment. Minimum reducing means 15 years. Pukach has already asked the court, and the court has recalculated the term to serve according to "Savchenko's law". This means that if he is sentenced to 15 years, he will have to be released immediately in the courtroom. He will even be overstayed and he will have the right to ask for compensation from the state, ” she explained.

However, Telychenko hopes that this will not happen: “I, personally, do not see grounds to soften his punishment. Pukach never fully pleaded guilty; it is not visible that he repents. "

When asked about the motivation of Oleksiy Pukach and the court's delay in considering this appeal, she said: "You ask sensible questions, but there is no reasonable answer to them."

At the beginning of the year, in addition to the defender from the state, Grygory Demydenko, Alexey Pukach had got four new attorneys, who asked more time to study the case files and to obtain admission to state secrets. Instead, at a hearing in September, these attorneys said they would not continue to defend him. Nevertheless, the person convicted for the murder of the journalist had a new barrister, and the court gave him once again more time to study the case files.

Hryhoriy Demydenko, for his part, asked whether it was advisable to keep retaining him as Pukach’s  defender. In addition, at the hearing it was raised question of recusal of the greffier due to allegedly inadvertently filed the case files. The court, in turn, denied the motion and took recess.

“Instead of going to the merits, the representatives of Oleksiy Podolsky (aggrieved party in this case. - Ed. ) insist on the statements of his other representative - Oleksander Ilyashkevich. The statements are irrelevant, in my opinion. And further on their agenda, they still have a statement about recusal of me from the process. It will also have to be heard again. I'm afraid, on October 9, we will not go anywhere again. The case scenario is hardly forecastable. Every time, we come here and stay at the same place, ” - added Valentyna Telychenko.

IMI reported, in January 2018, it became known that the court had reclassified Alexey Pukach's sentence according to Savchenko's law, counting six and a half years of pre-trial detention as 13 years of the main punishment.

Lawyer Valentyna Telychenko believes that the court's decision to review calculation of term of imprisonment for Pukach is legitime, but Pukach should serve life imprisonment.

Georgy Gongadze went missing on September 16, 2000. In November of the same year, his body was found in one of the forests of the Kyiv region. In 2009, in the Kiev region they found the skull remains, which, according to the examination, belonged to the journalist. On March 22, 2016, Gongadze was buried in Kyiv.

In 2008, the court convicted three Interior Ministry officials: Valery Kostenko and Oleksander Popovych for murder of Georgiy Gongadze and sentenced Kostenko and Popovych to 12 years in prison and Mykola Protasov they did to 13. In 2015, Protasov died in the penitentiary facility. 

On January 29, 2013, Oleksiy Pukach, head of chief of the outdoor surveillance department at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who had been detained in 2009, was sentenced to life imprisonment for Gongadze's murder. At the same time, no instigators of that murder have been found. Pukach’s defenders appealed against this decision of the court.

 On January 6, 2016, the Appeal Court in Kyiv stated legitimate the life imprisonment sentence for Pukach.

On February 6, 2016, the defenders of Oukach filed appeal against life imprisonment to Supreme specialized court on civil and criminal cases.

On March 22, 2016, Georgiy Gongadze was buried in Kyiv in Podil district. The grave is situated at the territory of St Nikolas Wonderworker of Embankment. Before, all 16 years has been kept in the central morgue in Kyiv.

On June 16, 2016, Oleksiy Pukach was sent to serve his sentence in the Chortkiv penal colony in Ternopil region # 26, where he is being held in the maximum security sector for life sentenced persons.

On October 12, 2016, in the High Specialized Court, Olekiy Pukach's attorneys  asked to reduce his life sentence to 15 years in prison.

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