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Jury Selection Begins In Kyiv In Trial Of Suspects In Killing Of Journalist Sheremet


Defendant Yulia Kuzmenko is seen in a Kyiv court on August 25.

KYIV -- The trial of three defendants suspected of being involved in the high-profile killing of journalist Pavel Sheremet has started in Kyiv with the selection of jurors.

The Shevchenko district court on September 4 selected jurors with the participation of defendants Andriy Antonenko, Yana Duhar, and Yulia Kuzmenko, and their legal teams.

The court decided to remove two potential members of the jury from the panel due to conflicts of interest and possible bias.

A woman pays tribute near Sheremet's casket in Kyiv on July 22, 2016.
A woman pays tribute near Sheremet's casket in Kyiv on July 22, 2016.

The jury will be fully established at the next hearing, scheduled for September 28.

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.

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

Duhar was later released and curfew restrictions were imposed on her, while Kuzmenko was transferred to house arrest in August.

Antonenko remains in a detention center.

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

They deny any involvement in Sheremet’s killing.

Analysts said the murder 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, the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General's Office said additional evidence was needed for the 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 "that innocent people may be hurt" as officials try to show they're making headway in the case.

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