Families of Heavenly Hundred demand explanations from Avakov and Lutsenko regarding the escape of former “Berkut” officers to Russia

Дата: 20 April 2017
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Families of the Heavenly Hundred want the authorities to explain how four more Berkut officers could manage to escape to Russia. They are suspected of murder and beating of protesters during the Euromaidan.

Their escape became known on April 15 after a video was published. In the video, former officers Oleksandr Kostiuk, Vladyslav Masteha, Artem Voylokov and Vitalii Honcharenko complain about persecution from the Ukrainian authorities.

According to the Texty publication, Artem Voylokov and Vladyslav Masteha left Ukraine on April 11. At that moment, both had a preventive measure in the form of a house arrest.

In addition, Oleksandr Kostiuk was under an obligation to leave the city without the investigator’s permission and Vitalii Honcharenko was obliged to come to the court.

“We want a report from competent authorities – from the Ministry of Internal and General Prosecutor’s office, how it could happen. Why the Ministry of Internal does not have enough bracelets for Kharkiv “Berkut” troops, why they keep to the rules of house arrest only after interference of the society and advocates? How did border control took place and why there were no instructions regarding border crossing by people under investigation”, – said Volodymyr Bondarchuk, son of killed Serhii Bondarchuk, during a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

The relatives of the deceased activists consider that the cases are deliberately delayed in order to divert attention from them. In the case of former “Berkut” officer Vitalii Honcharenko, court session did not happen twice because he did not give consent to video conference session. Nevertheless, on the third time public activists were not there, the session took place and he was released.

“It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. It is a set scheme – nobody detains them till the issue becomes less acute, then they are detained, then somehow there are no grounds for them to be kept in prison, then they are put under house arrest and then it happens so that they flee. I’m not accusing anyone, I’m just thinking”, – said Volodymyr Holodniuk, Deputy Head of the NGO Family of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred and a father of killed Ustym Holodiuk.

“It cannot be happening without the consent of authorities. If there is no adequate report and evaluation of these events, we will say that public officers are also involved with these people’s escape”, – he added.

In addition, families of the Heavenly Hundred demand explanations from authorities as to why security officials suspected of crimes during the Revolution of Dignity still keep their offices, and why judges who made illegal decisions have never been punished.

“That’s a huge question to the minister Avakov and his counsels, as the accused and suspects still serve in law enforcement agencies. At the same time, there are no internal investigations conducted by order of the General Prosecutor’s Office. On the contrary, we see many cases when their chiefs make arrangements to reinstate them in the office. This happened in Honcharenko and Kyiv “Berkuts” case”, – noted Vitalii Kuzmenko, injured during the events of November 30.

On April 19, Hromadske Television reported, referring to the General Prosecutor’s Office, that former “Berkut” officers Andriy Khandrikin and Volodymyr Riyako, despite their status of the accused, are still working in the Kharkiv Department of the National Police.

We demand a meeting with the minister Avakov and want him to answer all our questions in person. Lawlessness causes new crimes”, – said the mother of the killed Maksym Shymko.

Relatives of the Heavenly Hundred urge the General Prosecutor’s Office to closely monitor all activities and locations of the suspects and the public to monitor the court sessions.

“There are cases where there is almost no audience – as we, the families, are not strong enough to attend all sessions”, – said Volodymyr Bondarchuk

“This is reactionism. We need to join the efforts of families, media, citizens who hope to achieve something, and develop a counteraction mechanism”, – summed up Vitaly Titych, a member of the Advocate Consulting Group.

As a reminder, the Department of Special Investigations of the General Prosecutor’s Office sent a case against Andriy Khandrikin to the court. He is accused of torturing participants of the Maidan (Part 2, Article 127). The sanction of the article provides for imprisonment from 5 to 10 years.

Andriy Khandrikin is the involved in the persecution of activists on the Hrushevskoho Street on January 20, 2014. Two participants of the Maidan were beaten at the entrance of Lobanovskyi Stadium. Two former officers of the Kharkiv “Berkut” – Vladyslav Masteha and Artem Voylokov are accused in this case. And both, while having the status of being accused, escaped to Russia through the border checkpoint Hoptivka (Kharkiv region) on April 11.

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