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Kyiv Court Eases Pretrial Restrictions For Suspect In Killing Of Journalist Pavel Sheremet

Yana Duhar at a Kyiv court hearing late last year.
Yana Duhar at a Kyiv court hearing late last year.

KYIV -- A Kyiv court has eased pretrial restrictions for one of the suspects in the high-profile 2016 killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet in the Ukrainian capital.

The Kyiv Court of Appeals on July 13 agreed to lift curfew restrictions for military paramedic Yana Duhar.

The court also said Duhar no longer needed to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

But the court said she is still banned from communicating with witnesses in the high-profile case and must be present when summoned by investigators or prosecutors.

The court on July 13 also remanded Andriy Antonenko, another suspect, in custody.

The third suspect, Yulia Kuzmenko, a pediatric surgeon, is also being held in pretrial detention.

Vladyslav and Inna Hryshchenko, a married couple who are suspected in another unrelated case, have been declared persons of interest in the case.

All five took part in military operations in different capacities in Ukraine's east, where government forces are fighting against Russia-backed separatists.

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

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 program when an improvised explosive device planted under his vehicle exploded on July 20, 2016, killing him instantly.

Duhar, Antonenko, and Kuzmenko were arrested in December as suspects in the case.

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.

In January, Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said additional evidence was needed for the Sheremet murder case to go to trial.

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

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