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Court arrests fugitive former MP Renat Kuzmin in absentia

He is suspected of high treason.

Court arrests fugitive former MP Renat Kuzmin in absentia
Renat Kuzmin

The court has arrested in absentia former MP of the Verkhovna Rada of the IX convocation ("Opposition Platform for Life") Renat Kuzmin, who fled Ukraine, the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) reports.

"Based on the State Bureau of Investigation materials, the court imposed on former MP Renat Kuzmin a preventive measure in the form of detention (in absentia) without an alternative in the form of bail," the statement said.

He is suspected of treason. As part of the pre-trial investigation, SBI officers found that the MP had posted propaganda materials to the detriment of Ukraine in the media before and after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.

In particular, starting in March 2021 and even after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Renat Kuzmin voiced propaganda in his speeches, and posts on social media and on his website. The goal was to create anti-Ukrainian sentiment in society and use the information to harm the sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability and security of the state.

The suspect's actions are classified under Part 1 of Art. 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (high treason), which provides for a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment with property confiscation.

Procedural guidance is provided by the Office of the Prosecutor General.

During the Yanukovych presidency, Renat Kuzmin was Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council from 4 October 2013 to 2014, and First Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine (2010-2013).

Member of the Parliament of the IX convocation from the OPFL party. Member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy.

On 5 October 2022, the State Bureau of Investigation notified Kuzmin of suspicion of high treason. He was put on the wanted list.

In January of this year, the President issued a decree stripping Kuzmin of his Ukrainian citizenship. In the same month, the Verkhovna Rada deprived Kuzmin of his parliamentary mandate.

In May 2020, a court ordered the Prosecutor General's Office to investigate Medvedchuk, Kuzmin and Rabinovych's trip to Russia as high treason. On 10 March, 10 Rada members met with State Duma members in Moscow.

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