Oleksii Pukach's lawyer Maksym Herasko told Censor.NET correspondent.
The Superior Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases is going to consider the cassation appeal regarding the mitigation of the sentence at the meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 12.
"Oleksii Pukach may be soon at large if the court satisfies the complaint," the lawyer said. "He spent seven years in the pretrial detention facility before he was convicted! That's where the Savchenko law will be applied," Herasko said. According to him, Pukach has already been transported to Kyiv's remand prison from the jail where he was serving his sentence since January 2016 under the decision of the Court of Appeals. "They are already preparing him for the hearing," the defender explained.
"We believe that he has been unlawfully convicted and there is every reason to change his sentence. Though, I do not believe that the judges will do it, that the trial will be unbiased and without political implications. In the worst case the sentence will remain unchanged. At best, the case will be remanded to the trial court. Essentially, it is necessary to remit the matter for a fresh trial and interrogate everyone once again," Maksym Herasko said.
As reported, founder of Ukrainska Pravda news website, journalist Heorhii Gongadze disappeared Sept. 16, 2000. His headless corpse was later found in the forest in Kyiv's vicinity. Ex-Chief of Interior Ministry's Directed Surveillance Department Oleksii Pukach was arrested on charges of commission of this crime in a village in the Zhytomyr region July 21, 2009. The investigation found that Pukach received a verbal order to eliminate Heorhii Gongadze from the then Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Yurii Kravchenko. The criminal ring led by Pukach consisting of members of the Main Directorate of the Interior Ministry Valerii Kostenko, Oleksandr Popovych (both sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2008), and Mykola Protasov (got 13 years in prison in 2008) committed the murder Sept. 17, 2000. The court found Pukach guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment Jan. 23, 2013. Asked by the judge whether he agreed with the verdict, Pukach said: "I will agree with it when I will be sharing this cage with Kuchma and Lytvyn." The Kyiv Court of Appeal upheld the verdict Jan. 6, 2016.