From web-page. This is an unofficial fan page, status work-in-progress (May 2nd, 2020)
Dr. Yulia Kuzmenko (Ukrainian Кузьменко Юлія Леонідівна, born November 5th, 1979, Horlivka) — Ukrainian pediatric doctor (specialization – pediatric interventional cardiology); volunteer, civic activist, military doctor, MD PhD..
Her figure came into the spotlight of Ukrainian and international media after December 12th, 2019, when she was arrested as an alleged suspect in murder of bielorus journalist Pavel Sheremet in 2016. This extensively publicized arrest [ref_1] of her and Donbass war veteran Mr Antonenko, followed by several appeal court sessions and remand in custody have attracted on one side, the attention of human rights activists, advocating the presumption of innocence to be the priority. On other side there are journalists and bloggers eager to stigmatize the Ukrainian veteran-and-volunteer movement as “neo-fascists”[ref_2].
1.1 Scientific publications
2 Civic activity
4 Arrest and pre-trial jailing
5 Public's reaction to Dr Yulia Kuzmenko’ court case
5.1 Voices Pro
5.2 Voices Contra
5.3 Controversy over judicial value of FGA
6 Dr Kuzmenko's Jail Diary
Dr Yulia L. Kuzmenko, female, DOB 1979, MD, PhD is an operating consultant radiologist in Kiev (endovascular correction of heart defects in children). December 12th with no previous trial, at emergency press-conference in Kiev the police announces that she is “with 100% accuracy identified as perpetrator of the July 2016 assassination of Pavel Sheremet”. The same day Dr Kuzmenko arrested on her way home from clinic, her house searched. Next day, December 13th, after 10-hour hearing, the judge puts her behind bars for two months, rejecting options of house arrest or bail. Many here see it as a politically-motivated persecution of Ukrainian patriot and a huge violation of basic human rights. Amid the public outcry the Ukrainian Minister for Internal Affairs has admitted that “the evidence in this case is insufficient”. Meanwhile Dr Kuzmenko remains in custody (as by May 2nd, 2020) and the drama unveils.
"It was always my desire to be a doctor, and it seems I've became a good one", Yulia Kuzmenko says in her Ranok-TV interview of 2018 [video]. A sort of summary to her life track she formulated in her court speach of December 23, 2019:
"Until now a have had a right to be proud of myself. Thousands of successfully operated pediatric patients. Participation in Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity (2014). Volunteer civil supporter of Ukrainian Army in war against Russia. Candidate of medical sciences (= MD, PhD). The very same moment when I've operated one-by-one three kids, somebody were busy issuing my arrest warrant based on fabrications. Yesterday [the authorities] not only ruined my whole life. They have ended my carrer."
• 1996—2002 — studied at Bogomolets National Medical University, Kyiv, graduated with MD diploma
• 2002—2006 — worked at Amosov Institut for Cardio-Vascular Surgery, Kyiv
• since 2007 — is Chief, Department of Angiography and Endovascular Surgery, at Center for Pediatric Cardiology and Cardio-Surgery, Kyiv .
Has performed more than 2,000 endovascular operations on pediatric patients.
Ownes 6 patents in radiology.
• PhD these “Balloon valvuloplasty for critical aortal stenosis in neonates” (2011);
• 25 Ukrainian-language articles on Pediatric Interventional Cardiology; 8 reviews;
• An article in peer-reviewed English-language journal (2019) [ref_3]
After the start of Russian military intervention in Ukraine (2014–present) in Donbass she was active in grass-root civic support to army (so-called ‘volunteer movement’). She has been several times with medical missions to the war-torn Donbass, and as TV journalist reports, have been shelled with rocket artillery and developed a ‘veteran’s depression’
President’s of Ukraine award “For humanitarian participation in the anti-terrorist operation” (2016).
December 12th, 2019 Ukrainian mass-media as a breaking news have broadcasted a televised press-conference by Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ukraine), with the presence of top officials including President Volodymyr Zelensky, reporting the “successful finalizing the investigation of Pavel Sheremet murder”. Reporters Without Borders point to the fact that Ukrainian Minister of Interior Mr Avakov has had a personal reason to be in haste with this [ref_4]. At this press-conference Dr Yulia Kuzmenko was claimed, with no court decision of ‘guilty’, to be “with 100% certainty identified as a perpetrator”. The main technique of identification, by the police version, was the forensic gait analysis (FGA) from CCTV footage, performed by the UK forensic expert Ivan Birch. According to Ukrainian authorities the aim for the murder was "to destabilise the political situation in Ukraine". The same night Dr Yulia Kuzmenko was arrested, as well as two other suspects, Mr Antonenko and Ms Dugar.
December 13, 2019, two of the suspects, namely Mr Andrii Antonenko, a Donbass war veteran and rock-musician, and Dr Yulia Kuzmenko were remanded is custody until Ferbuary 8, 2020. The appeal for more clement pre-trial preventive measure (bail or house arrest) was rejected.
Ukrainian journalists were sceptical about the evidence that was disclosed and the alleged motive.[ref]. Reporters Without Borders have expressed their concern over “inconsistencies in the evidence for the Ukrainian authorities’ claim to have solved (…) editor Pavel Sheremet’s 2016 murder”, and pointed toward “a series of revelations (…) that has cast further doubt on the investigation”.[ref_4]
Vladislav Dobosh, lawyer, authorized representative of Yulia Kuzmenko:
“The so-called ‘Sheremet murder case’ is not a criminal process. It is a political process. They try to use the death of journalist in car-bomb explosion in 2016 as a justification for crackdown on all the political dissent, crackdown on all Ukrainian patriotic forces – so-called ‘volunteer movement’[unquote]
Opinions are polarized.
Number of persons and organizations in Ukraine expressed their indignation by the "unjust, unlawful and cruel" treatment of Dr Yulia Kuzmenko.
• Ulana Suprun, former Ukrainian minister of health, reacted immediately: “Any statements, that the person is ‘guilty’ or is a ‘perpetrator’, before the final verdict came into force – is a flagrant violation of the principle of the presumption of innocence”, she said in her Facebook post (in Ukrainian). There is, she pointed, a similarity between this current practice of “show trials” in Ukraine in 2010-s and the judicial culture of infamous Stalin’s political processes of 1930-s. She sees this recent move of Ukrainian authorities as a direct attack on the superiority of justice and law.
• The all-Ukrainian Medical Association VULT issued a public application to President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian minister of Internal Affairs, Ukrainian Attorney General, in which they expressed their strong protest against "biased, unprofessional and unlawful, attitude by law enforcement agencies and their leaders regarding a highly qualified doctor, volunteer and war veteran - Dr Yulia Kuzmenko". They stress, that unjustifiably harsh court decision on detention and a ban on performing her professional activity demonstrates a violation of the principles of Constitution of Ukraine and of the European Convention on Human Rights.
• Ukrainian PEN issued an open letter to the Ombudsman in Ukraine Ms Lyudmila Denisova [quoted in ref_5], noticing that the "actions of the authorities have demonstrated a serious violation of basic principles of human rights, above all the presumption of innocence, which is an integral part of human rights, in particular the right to liberty, the right of human dignity to be respected, and the right to life". They demanded Ombudsman to have her close look at the case of Dr Yulia Kuzmenko.
• The concerns of the veterans of Russian-Ukrainian war [ref. Wikipedia] were articulated by the veteran military medics, who said that the Minister of the Interior is "deliberately trying to discredit the volunteer-veteran community, which enjoys the highest trust in Ukrainian society". In their opinion, the treatment of Dr Kuzmenko, Mr Antonenko and Ms Dugar demonstrates an open violation of the presumption of innocence, political pressure on the court, neglect of the basic rights of suspects and open neglect of public opinion. "All these upset the veteran community of Ukraine", they conclude.
• The blog “Moon of Alabama” presents their vision of anti-journalist oligarch conspiracy in Ukraine [ref_2] “Russia had most likely nothing to do with any of the assassinations in the Ukraine that it was accused of. In most cases it is likely that the ruthless fascist of the Right Sector were the culprits. Ukrainian oligarchs used them to eliminate their enemies and rivals. President Porochenko protected them”. Within this context the blog hails the arrest of “…female doctor, who allegedly pressed the remote control button to kill Sheremet, and also is a coup supporting extremist”.
• Ms Kremenovska in her web-publication challenges the “attempts of some media to portrait Yulia Kuzmenko as an innocent heroin of the people”. Analyzing Kuzmenko’s Facebook profile, author opposes the “whitewash media campaign” and finds in her object the “appeals to violence and hatred”, “numerous examples of <Kuzmenko’s> sadistic attitude”, “religious intolerance” and “hatred to all human race based on the ideas of pseudo-pro-animal-life movement”.
Controversy over judicial value of Forensic Gait Analysis (FGA)
During the appeal hearings on Dr Kuzmenko' and Mr Antonenko' preventive measure the technique of the culprit's identification (namely, FGA) was challenged by defense. It was noticed, that, by his own estimate, the accuracy of Prof. Birch’ identification of person by FGA is about 70% [ref_6]. Esteemed forensic experts express their doubt about scientific base of using “forensic gait analysis (FGA)” as a means of identification of suspect(s)[ref_7, ref_8]
• January 04, 2020
It was late evening Thursday, December 12th, 2019.
I was driving from my clinics, to take my child from school and go home. I was stopped, and heavily-armed people in balaclavas pulled me out of my car.
At that moment I had not realized yet that in fact they not only pulled me out of my car. In a rough, dastard, vulgar manner they snatched me out of my life – the life of an ordinary Ukrainian woman who during the past six years (since the start of Revolution of Dignity and then Russian-Ukrainian war at Donbass, 2014 – ongoing) dared to position herself not only as a doctor, mother and housewife but as a citizen.
Note: One can imagine the dark winter sky in Kyiv late evening, the highway lit with yellow argon light, police vehicles with their blinking lights on… Ukrainian pediatric cardiologist Dr Yulia Kuzmenko that day had operated three of her patients. Her Facebook post of that day, features the X-ray films of pediatric patient who was previously palliated by Fontan procedure, and presented to clinics with blocked (stenotic) pulmonary artery. -- "Isn't this beautiful?" -- she writes, commenting on how artery (RPA) is opened after the catheter stent placement.
• December 28, 2019
Ukraine, remember about us, about those who once have decided that you are “above all”, above our lives, above our freedom, families, comfort, above ordinary everyday human happiness. But do not cry for us and do not regret. Even being here, we are freer than the bulk of the population, who are enclosed in the walls of their own fears, in their dependance on circumstances, in their depression and hopelessness. After all, there is nothing worse than the feeling that everything around is crumbling, falling apart, and you sit there, crossing your arms and legs and can do nothing. We are here because this fear and despair is not about us, we are those who prefered fight to flee, who dived into volunteering, who came out to protest ...
1. "Pride of Ukraine -- Mission to save life". Footage of Dr Yulia Kuzmenko in her pediatric cardiology department (2018).
[ref_1] Miller Christopher. Whoa. Ukraine's interior minister says police have detained suspects in the 2016 car-bomb assassination of journalist Pavel Sheremet Verified account ChristopherJM, 12 December 2019
[ref_2] Moon of Alabama. Violent Death Of Journalist - Blamed On Russia - Was Assault By Ukrainian Fascists. December 14, 2019
[ref_3] Kuzmenko Yu. et al. Percutaneous closure of patent ductus arteriosus (…) in 268 consecutive cases. Annals of Pediatric Cardiology, v.12 (3), p. 206-211
[ref_4] RSF. Ukraine must be less cagey about Sheremet murder case, RSF says. January 10, 2020
[ref_5] Coynash H. Presumed innocent until a police briefing in Ukraine. Doubts mount over Sheremet arrests. Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, December 27, 2019
[ref_6] Birch I, et al. The identification of individuals by observational gait analysis using closed circuit television footage. Sci Justice. 2013 Sep;53(3):339-42
[ref_7] Nina M van Mastrigt, et al. Critical review of the use and scientific basis of forensic gait analysis. Forensic Sci Res. 2018; 3(3): 183–193.
[ref_8] Seckiner D, et al. Forensic gait analysis - Morphometric assessment from surveillance footage. Forensic Sci Int. 2019 Mar;296:57-66
More references on "Dr Yulia Kuzmenko" could be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft:Yulia_Kuzmenko