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Police remove financial documents and computers from Vinnytsa Human Rights Group

17.10.2010

During a search officially of the home of Vinnytsa Human Rights Group coordinator, Dmytro Groisman, carried out on Friday, lasting until 2 a.m. that night, the police removed two leaflets from a German anti-AIDS foundation, promoting safe sex, and a video to check it for possible pornography.

Dmytro Groisman points out that his organization provides human rights assistance to women working in the sex industry, and they therefore have a lot of such leaflets.

The black and white film is of Dmytro’s child aged 1-2 (he is now 17). 

The search of his flat was carried out on the basis of a court order, officially over suspicion of circulating pornography in connection with a posting on his blog from 2 May (http://di-mur.livejournal.com/129792.html )   The video clip, in seriously questionable taste (but not as seemingly related to child pornography as the image shown – translator, who had been rearing to complain to Youtube!) remains available on Youtube to this day.

All exceedingly distasteful, but even those who find the need to re-post such material questionable, must also ask why the search happened now, 6 months later, and – more importantly – why, armed with a court order to search a private flat, the police, without court sanction, also searched the human rights group’s offices and removed financial document and computers.  Papers removed included some almost ready to be passed to the court regarding a case defending refugees.

Mr Groisman believes the real aim of the search was to paralyze the group’s work on refugee rights. He says that the police make money out of providing “protection” over illegal migration.  He thinks they may have wanted to removed documents with refugees’ testimony for this reason, but notes that there are copies held elsewhere.

He points out that while there was a court order for the search of his home, there was none for the search of the human rights organization, giving grounds to complain to the Human Rights Ombudsperson and Amnesty International in Ukraine.  He considers such treatment to be effectively persecution of human rights activists.

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