Tunnel case hearing. One of the accused of the smuggling was released immediately after the meeting
December 17 in Uzhgorod District Court there was a preliminary hearing of the case of brothers Vasyl and Mykhailo Malesh, who are accused of misappropriation of the land, as well as smuggling excisable goods and drugs through an underground tunnel with intent to sell.
In July this year, the Slovak border guards found near the checkpoint "Uzhgorod" a smuggling tunnel that led in the direction of Ukraine - or rather, to the basement of a private mansion on Zaporizka street in Uzhgorod.
Electrified and equipped with trolleys, it was believed to be used to smuggle cigarettes and drugs. They also assumed that it could be used to smuggle illegal immigrants and cultural values.
The case was widely discussed both in Ukraine and abroad.
It was rumored that such a tunnel could not be operated without the approval of the officials, so they expected scandalous revelations.
Instead, on August 23 the police arrested two obscure entrepreneur brothers - Vasyl and Mykhailo Malesh, whose deceased relative was the owner of the house with the tunnel.
At the hearing the elder brother Vasyl looked sick. The attorney for the defence Vasyl Ponzel explained that his client had been kept in prison for more than 4 months. During this time the man was interrogated almost every day, in addition, he felt aggravation of an old disease. So the lawyer suggested to begin the first meeting with a petition to change the preventive measure from detention to release on bail.
The prosecutor Oleksandr Vasilenko objected to the request, explaining that after exposing of the tunnel Vasyl Malesh shied away from responsibility (the police arrested the brothers in the Crimea. - Auth.). However, Vasyl Malesh during his speech said that he had not seen documented evidence of his involvement in smuggling through the tunnel, had been in the house of his aunt only once, and said the investigators that two other persons were living in the house, which was not even taken into account.
Finally, the presiding judge, considering the state of health of the accused and positive characteristics provided by villagers and religious leaders, granted the request of lawyers and decided to change the preventive measure from detention to the travel ban, freeing Vasyl Malesh from custody right in the courtroom . The next hearing in this resonant case will be held in early January.
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