In his exclusive comments for ‘Bukvy’, Mykola Chaus lawyer Rostylslav Kravets said kidnapping and imprisonment has seriously affected Mykola Chaus health .
‘He was tied to a bed for over 50 days and denied a bath. He has developed vision problems. Problems with hearing. [The situation] requires a complex medical treatment .. and psychological help as well’.
Rostyslav Kravets informed the former judge is now suffering from leg problems after he was forced ‘to go about 50 km on foot’.
Put under house arrest, Mykola Chaus has difficulty getting proper medical consulting, argued the lawyer, adding his client ‘has no money’ to pay for home visits of doctors.
According to the lawyer, the current health condition doesn’t allow Mykola Chaus to ‘properly study the case materials and evidence’ presented by prosecutors.
Kravets failed to disclose the whereabouts of Mykola Chaus claiming ‘the information is sensitive’ due to personal safety concerns.
He also revealed the defense team filed an appeal seeking revocation of pre-trial custody whereas Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutors’ office (SAPO) came up with a countermove filing an appeal –they are demandin the defendant should be put back on remand.
The Backstory of Mykola Chaus abduction and trials
The fugitive Ukrainian judge who fled Ukaine in 2016 facing bribing charges was kidnapped in Chisinau in early April this year and his whereabouts has long remained unknown
Mykola Chaus was arrested by NABU investigators after taking a $150,000 bribe and stashing money in a glass jar in his backyard. The judge opted not to wait for a court ruling and fled the country. The investigation found that fleeing Ukraine Chaus got assistance from his lawyer Andriy Smirnov, who is currently working as a top official of Zelensky’s administration.
April 3, 2021
Iulian Balan, Mykola Chaus lawyer in Moldova, inform about his client disappearance, and later reported the accident to the local police.
According to Moldova media reports, the judge was allegedly taken out of the country in the back of a Ukrainian diplomats’ car. Soon the photos of kidnapped Mykola Chaus emerged. In the photos, his face was visibly bruised.
April 8, 2021
Joint investigation of Moldova and Ukraine’s journalists revealed the evidence showing that the judge was kidnapped by Ukrainian nationals with the ties to Ukraine’s intelligence service. The journalists obtained the abductors’ photos and copies of their documents. The investigation claimed that Chaus kidnapping could be used for a smear campaign against Ukraine’s senior intelligence official Vasyl Burba who was at the time facing scrutiny over his role in the failed Wagner mercenaries capture scheme. .
May 16-17, 2021
Mykola Chaus ‘reemerged’ with his ‘Telegram’ video to claim that he was, in reality, abducted in 2016, and not in 2021. In his video, the judge states that he remains in a ‘safe place’, says ‘hello’ to his wife, promising her, on return to Ukraine, to punish those who were to blame for ‘their woes’.
July 31, 2021
Ukraine’s Security Service (the SBU) informed they detained Mykola Chaus in the village near Vinnytsya on a tip from locals. NABU investigators staged a chase after the SBU operatives’ van escorting the detained judge to Kyiv on claims they had authority over his criminal case.
August 2, 2021
MP Geo Leros alleged Volodymyr Zelensky had a secret meeting with Mykola Chaus before the fugitive judge was ‘found’ in Vinnytsia region
August 4, Higher Anticorruption Court orders 2 weeks’ house arrest and electoric monitoring for Mykola Chaus, refusing a motion challenging the judge.