Archbishop of Ternopil Aska Poroshenko to Protect a Priest from Belarus

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Archbishop Nestor of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate asked the President of Ukraine Piotr Poroshenko to protect a UOC KP protopriest Syarhey Nehames (Horbik), the press secretary of Khmelnitsk diocese and a chaplain of “Podilska Sich”, from the persecution on behalf of the Investigative Committee of Belarus.

On the 27th of May the Lviv court of appeal had not changed the previous court decision considering protopriest Syarhey Horbik. The priest can travel free but must notice the attorney offices about his residue.

According to the comments of Aliona Kys, the f. Syarhey’s advocate, the court made the least severe decision as possible. Considering the case, she thinks that its motives are clearly political.

Several documents in her possession, among them being the marriage certificate issued in Ukraine in 2003 and the residence certificate issued in 2011, show that at the moment of the issue of those documents Belarusian party did not have any claims against the priest.

She also stressed the fact that f. Syarhey has an active civic stand in Ukraine, contacts with Belarusian political opposition and was actively involved in ATO as a chaplain. “He leads a very active public life without concealing his name. Having an experience of working as an attorney an a police officer, I can assure you that a criminal would not be so publicly active”, – says Aliona Kys.

According to her, such cases are quite “dodgy” because they invole quite small ammounts of money.

The advocate had sent letters concerning the f. Syarhey political persecution to the President and Attorney General of Ukraine, in which she pleads for Ukrainian citizenship for him. “Ukraine has an experience of protecting Georgian and Russian political activists who were accused of “crimes”, sometimes fo an economical characther”, – she stated.

Vladimir Los, the Amnesty International Ukraine activist, has also commented the situation. He pointed out the “impossibility of of real justice in Belarus” and the existebce of political prisoners. “After the investigation of all available documents and interviewing the representatives of the attorney office and the advocate our team decided that f. Syarhey Nehames (Horbik) is absolutely political and his “Criminal character” is a type of persecution used against a Belarusian human rights activist Ales Belyatsky. I cn witness that the court took all facts into cinsideration and made the most  correct decision possible. We will continue monitoring the situation and creating a worldwide resonance”, – he stated.

The Metropolitan of Khmelyntsk and Kamenets-Podilski of UOC KP Antoni (Makhota) also supports the version of persecution. “He is a very modest person and I do not believe him to be a con artist. He should not be handed to Belarus because we all know what a Belarusian prison is”, – he stressed.

The civic group “Podilska Sich” Yury Rybak supposes that the case of f. Syarhey Nehames (Horbik) is an “attempt of a provocation against the defenders of Ukraine and the priests of a Kyiv Patriarchate who support them”. According to him, the case was “staged” by Moscow. “We have already addressed the President of Ukrain and Ukrainian special services to protect f. Syarhey and to give him a Ukrainian citizenship”, – he said.

As KRYNICA.INFO has previously reported, Syarhey Nehames is accused of crimes described in the Article 209 of the Penal Code (fraud). Also the Investigative Committee spokesman stated that the details of the case are not currently available for press.

The Article 209 of the Penal Code describes the punishments for a grand fraud as an imprisonement for a term from 2 to 7 years with or without confiscation of property.