13:55 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on Tuesday passed a bill abolishing the country's non-aligned status.

    Ukraine's Parliament OKs Amendments to Convict Ex-Leader Yanukovych in Absentia

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    Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, adopted the amendments on Thursday to the law on trial of individuals that are absent from investigation, thus allowing to try former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in absentia.

    KIEV (Sputnik) —Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said at the parliament session that the amendments are allowing to start trials on 190 cases, including the cases against Yanukovych.

    The amendments were supported by 252 lawmakers of the 450-seat parliament, with a required minimum of 226 votes.

    The law will now be transferred for the approval of President Petro Poroshenko.

    Several opposition factions spoke against the law, saying that it diminishes the power of legal defense while increasing the powers of prosecution.

    In 2013-2014, Kiev's landmark Maidan square witnessed months of the pro-European protests triggered by then President Yanukovych's refusal to sign the Ukraine–EU Association Agreement. In February 2014, the government was toppled, while violent clashes with law enforcement officials claimed the lives of some 100 civilians. The current Ukrainian authorities blame Yanukovych for the deaths.

    In November 2016, Yanukovych testified in the case of the 2014 Maidan uprising via a video conference with Kiev. The hearing concluded that Yanukovych was suspected of treason.


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