Court hearing of lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk case rescheduled for Feb. 26

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Member of parliament from the Radical Party Ihor Mosiychuk during the trial at Kyiv Pechersky district court on Jan. 26. (Anastasia Vlasova)

A court hearing in the case of Radical Party member of parliament Ihor Mosiychuk, suspected oft aking bribes, has been rescheduled to Feb. 26.

Mosiychuk, an opponent of President Petro Poroshenko, was arrested on bribery charges on Sept. 17. His arrest came in dramatic style, after Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin showed parliament video of Mosiychuk purportedly taking bribes.

Mosiychuk’s supporters portrayed the arrest as politically motivated revenge by Shokin and Poroshenko. It took place after the party, which had been collecting signatures for Shokin’s dismissal, left the government coalition and formally joined the opposition on Sept. 1.

Responding to the accusations of selective justice, Shokin said on Sept. 21 that he had no “blacklist” of disloyal lawmakers to be arrested. He said that, to avoid such accusations, he would not seek to prosecute any member of parliament again until immunity is lifted for all lawmakers. Other lawmakers rescinded Mosyichuk’s immunity from criminal prosecution.

The video Shokin presented in the Rada appeared to show Mosiychuk specifying the size of bribes for lobbying for businesses’ interests, and then receiving cash. Mosiychuk denies the accusations, saying the video was manipulated.

The procedural violations were so obvious that they were even admitted by Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groysman, who said they were necessary to speed up the investigation. One of the violations is that the issue of stripping Mosiychuk of immunity from prosecution was not considered by the Verkhovna Rada’s rules committee.

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