Lawyer: Case against rector of Uzhhorod cathedral pulled out of thin air
According to lawyer Oleksiy Fazekosh, the criminal case against Father Dimitry Sydor has no judicial perspective.
The criminal prosecution of the rector of the Holy Cross Cathedral of the UOC in Uzhhorod, Archpriest Dimitry Sydor, has no grounds, and the court will be forced to acquit him, stated Oleksiy Fazekosh, the chairman of the Transcarpathian Advocacy Council, after the session of the Uzhhorod City District Court in the case of Fr Dimitriy by his defender.
"I am in a good mood – I had fun listening to the questioning of witnesses," the lawyer said. “From my point of view, the case is pulled out of thin air. <...> The case has no judicial perspective. We are convinced that we will win it, get a positive result and an acquittal".
Archpriest Dimitry Sydor said that the court heard the testimony of five prosecution witnesses who expressed their indignation over his sermon on the need to preserve the Julian calendar in church life.
According to the priest, he was accused of claiming that the postponement of the Christmas celebration was initiated by "a bunch of civil servants who raised this issue in the Verkhovna Rada, with the Minister of Culture, etc.", that "the officials interfered in the wrong way and decided to manipulate the whole country with the Christmas date".
Father Dimitry also noted that the words "godless" and "satanist", the use of which he was accused of using, were literary and their use was not legally punishable.
As reported, in mid-March, the police informed Archpriest Dimitry Sydor of the suspicion of committing an offence under Part 1 of Article 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (inciting religious hatred and enmity, insulting the feelings of citizens in connection with their religious beliefs). The Uzhhorod City District Court ordered the priest to be placed under personal restraint. He was prohibited from leaving the city and communicating with witnesses in his case, ordered to surrender his foreign passport, to report changes of residence and employment and appear before investigators, prosecutors and courts at short notice.