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Murderer of Maidan activist Verbytskyy released from punishment due to statute of limitations

The prosecutor will appeal the court's decision.

Murderer of Maidan activist Verbytskyy released from punishment due to statute of limitations

The Shevchenkivskyy district court of Kyiv has sentenced Oleksandr Medvid in the case of the kidnapping of Maidan (Maydan) activist Yuriy Verbytskyy, the Advocates' Advisory Group has said.

Presiding judge Lidiya Shchebunyayeva found Medvid guilty under Part 2 of Article 146 of the Criminal Code (illegal abduction of Yuriy Verbytskyy and Ihor Lutsenko, committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy). The court sentenced the convict to five years in prison.

At the same time, Shchebunyayeva changed the qualification of the charge against Medvid by the prosecutor's office – instead of Article 146(3), the verdict was based on Article 146(2) of the Criminal Code. This means that the court did not see in the defendant's actions the grave consequences of the kidnapping – the infliction of physical pain on the victims and the death of Verbytskyy.

As a direct result of the change in the charge, Medvid was released from serving his sentence due to the expiry of the statute of limitations for prosecution under Part 2 of Article 146 (a medium-sized crime) instead of Part 3 of Article 146 (a serious crime), as charged by the prosecutor's office. The court also partially satisfied Ihor Lutsenko's civil claim and ordered him to pay UAH 200,000 in non-pecuniary damage and about UAH 50,000 in material damage and court costs.

The court dismissed the civil suit filed by Yuriy's brother Serhiy Verbytskyy due to the death of Serhiy Verbytskyy.

The prosecutor is not satisfied with the court's decision and will appeal it, Suspilne reports.

Medvid was accused of kidnapping Verbytskyy and Ihor Lutsenko from the Oleksandrivska Hospital on 21 January 2014. This is the fourth verdict (one of which is being appealed) on the abduction and murder of Verbytskyy and the abduction of Lutsenko. The trials of 14 people (12 civilians and two former law enforcement officers) are still ongoing.

According to the prosecutor's office, Medvid is a 'titushko' (euphemism for a hired heavy), the executor of Verbytskyy's abduction. He has been on trial for eight years in a row. Over this time, the composition of the court has changed four times and the trial has been restarted three times.

Ihor Lutsenko and Yuriy Verbytskyy were abducted from the Oleksandrivska Hospital in Kyiv at around 4 a.m. on 21 January 2014. They were taken outside the city and tortured for many hours. After the torture, Ihor and Yuriy were driven out and dumped in different places in the forest. Ihor Lutsenko survived. Yuriy Verbytskyy was killed. On 22 January, his body was found in the forest 500 m from the Hnidyn-Petrivske road.

In April 2021, the Boryspil court sentenced Oleksandr Volkov, accused of the abduction and murder of Yuriy Verbytskyy, as well as the abduction of Ihor Lutsenko during the Revolution of Dignity, to nine years in prison. Volkov was found guilty of torture, kidnapping and obstruction of peaceful assembly.

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