2 Ukrainian ultra-radical MPs face investigation for kidnappings, torture

Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko © Stringer
A new criminal case has been reportedly opened against the leader of the Ukrainian Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko, and his fellow party member Igor Mosiychuk. The two are accused of organizing a criminal group, kidnappings and torture.

Mosiychuk reported the news on his Facebook page: “Yesterday it became known that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office had opened new criminal cases against me and the leader of the Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko.”

The proceedings were approved by Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, Mosiychuk added. The two ultra-radical MPs stand accused of “organizing a criminal group, kidnapping, illegal detention as well as torture,” Mosiychuk wrote.

READ MORE: Abductions, lawlessness: Amnesty International slams pro-Kiev ‘vigilantes’

The information about the violent incidents the two were involved in allegedly came from Sergey Malnichuk, the commander of Ukraine’s most infamous volunteer squad, the Aidar battalion, which has been condemned by Amnesty International for its brutality in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian authorities have yet to confirm the information.

The new accusations are listed in the leaked documents, which were published online. The first one involves Lyashko and Mosiychuk illegally kidnapping and beating Yury Borisov, the mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Stakhanov, in July 2014.

The second one claims that Lyashko is responsible for organizing an armed criminal group that kidnapped the mayor of Slavyansk, Aleksandr Samsonov, on July 8, 2014. The mayor was then reportedly threatened, degraded and forced to sign a confession to a serious crime.

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Mosiychuk stressed in his Facebook post that Melnichuk made the accusations to avoid his own criminal investigation for creating a criminal organization. He also added that Melnichuk is “fabricating criminal cases” under orders from President Petro Poroshenko.

Last year, Amnesty International called for an investigation into the abuse of power by pro-Kiev “vigilantes,” including Lyashko. The organization listed instances of abductions and physical abuse of victims.

Lyashko is known for traveling with armed men in military clothing and posting videos of his assaults online. After kidnapping and abusing individuals who he believes are supporting the self-defense forces in eastern Ukraine, Lyashko posted videos online, praising his own actions.

One of the most disturbing videos shows Lyashko interrogating one of the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Khakmizyanov, half-naked and tied up, after he was captured by one of Kiev’s military units.

Lyashko had a criminal record, which was expunged in 1998. He was convicted of large-scale embezzlement and abuse of power and sentenced to six years in jail in 1994, but was amnestied a year later.

The MP also took part in the May 25 post-coup presidential elections, where he came third with a little over 8 percent of the votes, after oligarch Petro Poroshenko and ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko.