The Security Service of Ukraine did not "kidnap" Mykola Chaus, a fugitive ex-judge of the Dniprovsky District Court of Kyiv, but acted within the law and its relevant powers.
That’s according to a statement provided to Ukrinform by the agency’s press service Saturday, July 31.
"It is the SBU that has since May 2021 been conducting a pre-trial criminal inquiry into the abduction of ex-Judge Chaus and his illegal trafficking across the state border," the security service notes.
The SBU claims that its operatives performed their official duties within the investigation of the relevant criminal case, as well as dismisses as “manipulation” any attempts to publish distorted information in this regard.
The SBU also noted the fact that on Friday, July 30, someone called the SBU hotline, reporting that a person who identified himself as Mykola Chaus arrived at one of the village councils in Vinnytsia region and asked that the SBU operatives be called up.
Chaus later told SBU detectives he had been abducted, illegally imprisoned, and subjected to other unlawful activities. Measures have been taken to ensure Chaus's safety, the statement adds.
The agency reported that, due to his physical and moral condition following his long-term imprisonment, Chaus is currently undergoing the required medical treatment. Mykola Chaus's wife was informed about this separately as SBU investigators remain in constant contact with his family.
The SBU added that the agency is taking the necessary measures to establish all circumstances of Chaus’s abduction and illegal imprisonment, working to identify all perpetrators involved.
As reported earlier, on July 30, a number of Ukrainian media reported that fugitive ex-judge Mykola Chaus surfaced in a village in Vinnytsia region. A resident of the village of Mazurivka allegedly told police that Chaus had been spotted in the area. The police detained the ex-judge before the latter was allegedly "intercepted" by SBU operatives who drove him away.
Read also: SBU nabs Russian military intelligence asset
The officials with the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine reported that law enforcers who had apprehended Mykola Chaus did not reach out to NABU.
Chaus case: Background
- In August 2016, NABU detectives exposed Judge Chaus for receiving a $150,000 bribe.
- In September 2016, the Verkhovna Rada upheld the Prosecutor General's Office's request for consent to detain the judge and hold him in custody remand.
- However, Chaus managed to flee Ukraine to Moldova before any procedural action was taken.
- On March 3, the panel of civil, commercial and administrative disputes of the Supreme Court of Moldova refused to grant Chaus the requested political asylum.
- Chaus's lawyer, Yulian Balan, said on April 3, 2021, that a group of unidentified gunmen had allegedly abducted the ex-judge in Chisinau. The city police confirmed the report.
- On Monday, May 17, a video was published showing Chaus saying on camera that he is allegedly safe and sound, without naming his exact whereabouts.