Court rules illegal to close the case on persecution of Zolochiv priest

Radicals destroy the fence of the priestly house of the UOC in Zolochiv with sledgehammers, 2020. Photo: website of the National Corps

The decision of the Zolochiv police to close criminal proceedings on the fact of harassment of the family of the UOC priest was declared unlawful and canceled.

On April 12, 2021, the investigating judge of the Zolochiv District Court overturned the decision of the regional police department in Zolochiv to close the criminal case on incitement to hatred against the family of priest Maxim Yoenko, the Union of Orthodox Lawyers (UOL) reported on its Telegram channel.

The investigating judge considered the complaint of the family of Father Maxim Yoenko against the decision of the Zolochiv police to close the case on incitement to religious hatred and hatred against the priest's family, deprivation of private property and expulsion from Zolochiv.

The judge admitted that "the pre-trial investigation was carried out incompletely and partially, the decision to close the criminal proceedings is unfounded, unmotivated, and the criminal proceedings were closed prematurely."

The cancellation of the illegal decision of the Zolochiv police is a small step towards restoring the religious rights not only of the family of priest Maksim Yoenko, but of the entire religious community of the UOC in Zolochiv, the UOL lawyers noted.

The lawyers stressed that only by bringing the perpetrators to criminal responsibility is it possible to restore the rights and interests of local believers.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the court recognized the persecution of the cleric and the UOC community in Zolochiv as an actual fact.

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