Human Rights in Ukraine

26.02.2005 | Nikolay Kozyrev, Lugansk

Repressions in Lugansk continue


In the morning of 28 November, at the entrance to Lugansk, the officers of road militia stopped a mini-truck «GAZel», in which a part of the run for 25-28 November of the newspaper «Tvoy vybor» (founded by the joint-stock company «Telekritika») was transported to Zaporozhye in accordance with the agreement with three Lugansk newspapers. It was planned to use «Tvoy vybor» as a loose leaf in these newspapers.

The road guards disliked the newspaper, they regarded it as agitation materials and ordered S. Shvets, the driver of the truck, who had all documents for the load, to drive to the Artemovskiy district militia station. There it turned out that, for some reasons, one invoice was absent in the documents.

When, about 1 p.m., N. Kozyrev, a representative of the Lugansk human rights protecting organization, arrived at the district station and tried to clear up the reasons of detainment of the driver and load, it appeared that detective V. Pleshchakov could not explain the legal grounds of the detainment. In spite of the fact that, by that moment, Sergiy Shvets had already stayed at the militia station for more that three hours, protocol of the detainment had not been compiled, and the status of the detained was defined as «interrogated».

The report of the road militia read: the amount of the load did not correspond to the accompanying documents – there was no invoice for 20000 copies of the newspaper. The detective stated that if there was this invoice, there would be no reasons to detain the load and the driver.

In an hour the invoice was transmitted by fax from the sender and handed to Pleshchakov. Yet, the latter decided to «agree» this question with somebody, with whom Kozyrev could not meet, and was doing it for two hours more. At last the detective said that it was ordered to confiscate the load because it did not correspond to the law; the same reason was mentioned in the protocol of confiscation. We could not ascertain the criterion of «non-correspondence».

However, during the unloading in presence of witnesses (one of them was also a detained), Pleshchakov declared that the load had agitation character and allegedly contained the appeals to coup d’etat (!). When the diligent detective was warned that he was realizing the political censorship, he did not react, continuing to carry the packages of newspapers into the building of the militia station.

The act of confiscation was compiled, and the human rights protector added to it: «The load was confiscated without any legal grounds. The confiscation is an act of political censorship».

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