Suspect In Killing Of Journalist In Kyiv Remanded In Custody


A court in Kyiv has upheld an extension of the pretrial detention of one of the suspects in the high-profile 2016 killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet in the Ukrainian capital.

The appeals court on December 7 ruled that the decision of the Shevchenko district court in Kyiv in October to hold Andriy Antonenko in pretrial detention until December 19 is valid.

Dozens of Antonenko's supporters rallied in front of the court on December 7.

Sheremet, a Belarusian-born Russian citizen who had made Kyiv his permanent home, was leaving his apartment to head to the studio where he hosted a morning radio show when an improvised explosive device planted under his vehicle exploded on July 20, 2016, killing him.

Antonenko and two others, Yulia Kuzmenko and Yana Duhar, were arrested as suspects in the case in December last year.

Duhar and Kuzmenko were later transferred to house arrest.

The three suspects took part in military operations in different capacities in Ukraine's east, where government forces are fighting Russia-backed separatists.

The Interior Ministry and the National Police said in December last year that the group's goal was "to destabilize the political and social situation in Ukraine" by killing Sheremet.

Analysts said Sheremet's killing underscored concerns of a climate of impunity for attacks on journalists and others who challenge the authorities, while the government has faced persistent criticism over a perceived lack of progress in solving the case.

Sheremet's mother, Lyudmila Sheremet, told RFE/RL in December last year that she does not know if the suspects are guilty or not, but that she is afraid "that innocent people may be hurt" as officials try to show they're making headway in the case.

In January, the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office said that additional evidence was needed for the case to go to trial.

With reporting by Ukrayinska Pravda and Ukrinform