Entries in Suspect (6)


Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko Suspected in Murder Case

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- Former Ukrainan Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a galvanizing figure in the Orange Revolution of 2004, has been named a suspect in the murder of a powerful businessman and lawmaker and three others in 1996.

Supporters of Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year sentence in a separate case, say the accusations are just the latest in an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovich to keep his rival behind bars.

The prosecutor's announcement comes as the European Court of Human Rights is expected to rule that Tymoshenko's current imprisonment is illegal. The fiery opposition leader's party said the new case is just a way for the government to keep her in jail when that happens.

"Understanding that the European Court of Human Rights will put an end to the dirty and empty tricks against Yulia Tymoshenko in the near future, Yanukovich's associates have resorted to a desperately brazen and mendacious step," the Fatherland party said in a statement.

"They are no longer hiding that they want to hold not only the opposition leader but all of Ukraine behind bars for life," it said.

The European Union has called her jailing "selective justice."

The 52-year-old is suspected of "ordering and organizing" a hit on the life of Yevhen Scherban and three others, who were shot to death as they stepped off an airplane, the Prosecutor General's Office said on its website.

Scherban was a member of Parliament and one of Ukraine's richest men. At the time of the killing, Tymoshenko was a prominent gas trader. Prosecutors said the alleged hit appeared to stem from a business rivalry.

Tymoshenko has not yet been formally charged, but the announcement of her status as a suspect paves the way for prosecutors to pursue charges.

The latest allegations come just weeks before the European Court of Human Rights is expected to issue a ruling on the detention of Tymoshenko.

She is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power for ordering a gas deal with Russia in 2009. Prosecutors claimed she did not have cabinet approval to proceed with the deal and that it is was detrimental to Ukraine's economy. She denied the charges.

Tymoshenko said she believes her prosecution and detention are politically motivated and that she has not been granted judicial review, the court said in a news release. She also complained about inadequate jail conditions, according to the release, and said she has not been afforded proper medical care for her health issues, which reportedly include a debilitating back condition.

Tymoshenko co-led the Orange Revolution in 2004, when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians protested in response to allegations of widespread fraud in the election of Viktor Yanukovich over rival Viktor Yushchenko.

Thousands of Ukrainians occupied the center of Kyiv, insprired by the fiery speeches of Tymoshenko, and the movement only grew until the election results were voided and Yushchenko was elected president in a new vote.

Tymoshenko briefly served as acting prime minister in 2005. She was elected in December 2007 and served until March 2010.

She was convicted on the abuse of power charges in October 2011 and was banned from holding public office for three years.

The imprisonment of Tymoshenko has contributed to unrest in the country.

The Oct. 28, 2012 election was marred by claims of stuffing the ballot box.

That anger boiled over in December when a brawl erupted in the newly elected Parliament.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


FBI Granted Access to Benghazi Suspect in Tunisia

FBI(WASHINGTON) -- FBI agents investigating the Benghazi attack have been granted access a suspect who is currently being held in Tunisia. Ali Harzi was initially detained in Turkey after he posted information on a social media site about his involvement in the attack. Harzi was then extradited to his home country of Tunisia where he was being held in a jail. The FBI had been trying to gain access to him since last month.
After working through the diplomatic process the FBI will finally be able to interview him in the coming days.
Final arrangements are being made with the FBI and Tunisian authorities about how the interrogation will take place. Tunisian security officials are likely to be present during the questioning by the American agents.
U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have been briefed on the issue from the FBI.
In a press release the Senators issued the following statement:
“We are very pleased the Tunisian government is working with American investigators to allow in person access to Ali Ani al Harzi.  Under this arrangement the interviews will be under Tunisian supervision and consistent with their sovereignty and meets the needs of our investigative team.
Allowing American investigators in person access will make the interview more meaningful and is a welcome breakthrough in our efforts  to find the perpetrators of the Benghazi Consulate attacks.  This tight collaboration between our countries shows the growing strength of our partnership.
It is unfortunate it has taken this long to get an in-person interview as time is of the essence in cases like this.  We hope our interview of Ali Ani al Harzi will bear fruit and we can bring to justice those responsible for killing Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.
Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began and these latest events reaffirm the growing alliance between our two countries.  We look forward to working with the Tunisian government to strengthen the ties between our two countries.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alleged Shooter in Afghanistan Massacre Identified

Staff Sgt Robert Bales (L) and another soldier at a training center in Fort Irwin, CA in 2011. United States Army(FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.) --The U.S. soldier accused of going on a rampage and killing 16 Afghan civilians as they slept in their houses has been identified as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, ABC News confirmed Friday.

Bales, 38, a husband and father of two, was serving on his fourth combat deployment in 10 years, the first three in Iraq. He was on his first tour in Afghanistan, where he'd been since December.

Bales is being transported to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he is expected to face formal charges on 16 counts of murder possibly as early as Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lawyer for 'Barefoot Bandit' Will Represent Afghan Massacre Suspect

Hemera/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- A well-known Seattle defense attorney has agreed to represent the unidentified Army soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians this past weekend.

The office of attorney John Henry Browne confirmed to ABC News that Browne has agreed to represent the soldier who is based at Joint Base Lewis McChord just outside of Tacoma, Wash. Browne has represented various high-profile clients in the Seattle area, most recently Colton Harris-Moore, the thief and fugitive known by the moniker "the Barefoot Bandit" for committing some of his crimes barefoot.

The soldier has not yet been charged with the shooting deaths of 16 civilians who lived in two villages near his base in rural Panjwai District of Kandahar province in Southern Afghanistan.

His identity has not been made public by the Pentagon, though ABC News has learned that he is a 38-year-old staff sergeant and a married father of two serving his fourth overseas deployment. His deployment to Afghanistan this past December was his first after having served three previous combat deployments to Iraq.

According to Seattle press accounts, Browne says he spoke with the soldier by phone early Thursday, and is making plans to fly to Kuwait to meet with his new client. On Wednesday, the soldier was flown out of Afghanistan to Kuwait, where he is now being detained at a U.S. military detention facility.

ABC News has learned that shortly after the massacre suspect was detained for the shootings, he requested a lawyer and then did not volunteer much information. A military lawyer was assigned to him and represented him at a pre-trial confinement hearing on Tuesday. That hearing before a U.S. military magistrate in Afghanistan determined that there was probable cause to continue to detain the soldier.

The next step in the legal process will be the preferring of criminal charges against the soldier. Once those charges are presented the soldier's identity will be made public. Military service members have the option of including civilian attorneys to work with their military lawyers as their cases navigate through the military court system.

The soldier's family was immediately notified of his role in the shootings and was transferred from off-base housing to Joint Base Lewis McChord for their protection.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kandahar Shooting Suspect Flown to Kuwait

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The soldier accused of shooting 16 Afghan villagers this past weekend was flown out of Afghanistan on Wednesday evening to a U.S. detention facility in Kuwait.

Earlier Wednesday Pentagon officials had publicly confirmed that the unidentified soldier had been transferred out of Afghanistan, but refused to identify exactly where because of what one official described as “host nation sensitivities.”

A U.S. official confirms to ABC News that the soldier was flown to Kuwait, where he will be detained at an American detention facility.

The 38-year-old staff sergeant has yet to be charged in the shootings of the villagers that took place after he sneaked off his base in the middle of the night, targeting residents of two villages near his remote base in western Kandahar province.

Officials say the soldier will be identified once military prosecutors file charges.  The Army’s Criminal Investigative Command is conducting the investigation into the shooting rampage and will forward their results to the military chain of command.  Charges can be filed while the investigation continues.

Afghan political leaders have called for the shooter to be tried publicly in Afghan courts, but U.S. military officials say the case will be handled in U.S. military courts.  A U.S. military official says Afghan officials were made aware of the transfer before it occurred.

Whether that trial takes place in Afghanistan or the United States remains to be seen.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel earlier Wednesday, Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said the move was made mainly because “inside Afghanistan we don’t have the proper detention facilities to detain U.S. personnel for any length of time.”  He added, “This is in accordance with our own regulations and policies to have him in a proper detention facility where he can continue to be interviewed and to be cared for appropriately. ”

American detention facilities in Kuwait have been used in the past to house American service members involved in high-profile cases.  In 2010, PFC Bradley Manning was kept in pre-trial confinement in Kuwait for three months after having been initially detained in Baghdad for allegedly leaking sensitive materials that later appeared on WikiLeaks.

In June 2010, Army Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs was also sent to a detention facility in Kuwait after being detained in Afghanistan for having organized a team of soldiers that killed three Afghan civilians for sport. Gibbs was convicted this past November in the deaths of the civilians.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghan Shooting Suspect Flown Out of Afghanistan

File photo/ iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Army staff sergeant accused of massacring 16 Afghan villagers earlier this week was flown out of Afghanistan after 9 p.m. local time Wednesday, according to U.S. and NATO officials.

The Afghan government was informed that the alleged shooter was being moved beforehand. The suspect's destination was not disclosed.

A U.S. military official said that the suspect had been moved because of concerns for his safety inside Afghanistan and because of sensitivity to the host nation. Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said that the suspect has been moved to "an appropriate detention facility outside of Afghanistan," but would not identify the country. "This is primarily because inside Afghanistan we don't have the proper detention facilities to detain U.S. personnel for any length of time," said Kirby. "So this is in accordance with our own regulations and policies to have him in a proper detention facility where he can continue to be interviewed and to be cared for appropriately." The suspect has not yet been charged.

The shooting occurred at 3 a.m. Sunday morning in three houses in two villages in the Panjway district of southern Kandahar province, an area that was once a Taliban safe haven but has recently become more safe after a surge of troops in 2009.

The alleged shooter has been identified as a 38-year-old Army staff sergeant based at Fort Lewis in Washington state. His name has not been released.

He was assigned to Camp Belambay, a remote combat outpost where his job was to be protection for Special Operations Forces who were creating local militias. He was not a member of the special forces unit. He allegedly left the base in the middle of the night and wore night-vision goggles during his rampage, according to a source.

The first village was more than a mile south of the base. While there, he allegedly killed four people in the first house. In the second house, he allegedly killed 11 family members -- four girls, four boys and three adults.

He then walked back to another village past his base where he allegedly killed one more person, according to a member of the Afghan investigation team and ABC News' interviews with villagers.

All of the victims were shot in their homes, according to villagers and the Afghan president's office. Video from the scene show blood-splattered floors and walls inside a villager's home and blood-soaked bodies of victims, including the elderly and young children, wrapped in blankets and placed in the backseat of a van.

Some of the bodies appear to have been burned.

Pentagon spokesman Kirby said officials "don't know what his motivation was. We are looking into that."

The staff sergeant confessed to the crime when he returned to his base that night, saying, "I did it," defense officials told ABC News.

According to the officials, the staff sergeant returned to his base in Kandahar where he was disarmed. Back at the base, said officials, he said, "I did it," and described the massacre. According to defense officials, villagers were already reporting the massacre before the suspect returned to the base.

The soldier has since retained a lawyer and is refusing to speak with investigators about what motivated him to allegedly gun down the civilians. Officials told ABC News the alleged shooter had been having marital problems since returning from deployment in Iraq in 2010 before he was sent to Afghanistan.

ABC News has learned that the soldier suffered a mild traumatic brain injury in 2010 while on deployment in Iraq.

It is unclear if the injury could have played a role in Sunday's massacre. An official told ABC News that the soldier has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past, either from hitting his head on the hatch of a vehicle or in a car accident. He went through the advanced TBI treatment at Fort Lewis and was deemed to be fine.

He also underwent mental health screening necessary to become a sniper and passed in 2008. He had routine behavioral health screening after that and was cleared, the official said.

When the soldier returned from his last deployment in Iraq he had difficulty reintegrating, including marital problems, the source told ABC News. But officials concluded that he had worked through those issues before deploying to Afghanistan.

Investigators are also looking at the possibility that alcohol may have played a role in the incident, defense officials said, as alcohol was found near where he lived on base in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the suspect appeared before a magistrate, where probable cause for continued pre-trial confinement was established.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio