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2 Ex-Berkuters Accused of Euromaidan Shootings Return to Kyiv 41 Days After Prisoner Swap - Lawyer
8 February, 2020
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From left to right: Former Berkut officer Oleksandr Marynchenko, lawyer Ihor Varfolomeyev, lawyer Oleksandr Horoshynskyi, and former Berkut officer Serhiy Tamtura. Oleksandr Horoshynskyi / Facebook

Two former officers of Ukraine's riot police Berkut (now disbanded) who were sent to the occupied Donbas as part of the December 29 prisoner swap have returned to Kyiv. This was announced by lawyer Oleksandr Horoshynskyi on Facebook.

The ex-officers, Oleksandr Marynchenko and Serhiy Tamtura, were two of the five ex-Berkuters handed over to the occupied territory 41 days ago.

READ MORE: The Cost of Freedom: Who Was Exchanged in Occupied Donbas Prisoner Swap?

They – along with their colleagues Oleh Yanyshevskyi, Serhiy Zinchenko, and Pavlo Abroskin – are accused of killing 48 and injuring a further 80 people on the Instytutska Street in Kyiv on February 20, 2014.

In the open letter penned by Marynchenko and Tamtura and published in Horoshynskyi's post, the ex-Berkuters say that they're planning to continue attending the court hearings regarding the Euromaidan case.

"We have nothing to hide – we did not commit crimes," Marynchenko and Tamtura wrote addressing the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prosecutor General Rouslan Riaboshapka, and Parliament Chairman Dmytro Razumkov.

READ MORE: Families of Euromaidan Victims Talk Ex-Berkut Officers Exchange

The ex-Berkuters state that "justice" is the main reason for their return to the capital.

Marynchenko and Tamtura also claimed that they were "forced" to agree to the terms of the exchange as they didn't want to "put their interests above the interests of others."

READ MORE: The Maidan Cases In Numbers And In Pictures

"Our refusal to be swapped would have put the entire exchange under risk. Understanding the feelings of every person on the exchange list, we could not put our own interests above the interests of others,"  Marynchenko and Tamtura wrote. 

They asked the state to "immediately" cancel the 2014 law on amnesty for the protesters and to "ensure a just and unbiased investigation" into the Euromaidan events. 

Tamtura and Marynchenko's pretrial restrictions were changed to house arrest in October and December of 2019 respectively. Yanyshevskyi, Zinchenko, and Abroskin remained in custody until December 28, the day before the prisoner exchange.

According to lawyer to the victims of the Euromaidan shootings, Pavlo Dykan, Marynchenko and Tamtura's return could have been a "tricky move" to ensure that the other three ex-Berkuters evade arrest.

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