Human Rights in Ukraine

Law enforcement agencies

After imprisonment on an administrative charge, no administrative offence detected


According to Lidia Topolevska, Head of the Sim Centre for Legal and Political Research, the Court of Appeal failed to find any administrative offence in the actions of Ihor Tanichkevcyh, who, together with human rights activist Oleksiy Verentsov, was sentenced in October to 3 days administrative arrest for “holding an unlawful protest outside the Lviv Regional Prosecutor’s Office” They in fact spent four days in custody.

Lidia Topolevska reports that the Lviv Regional Court of Appeal has cancelled the ruling to bring administrative proceedings against Ihor Tanichkevcyh, however it instructed the Prosecutor to check whether he had not committed a criminal offence.

If the Prosecutor fails to come up with any such offence, then Ihor Tanichkevcyh will be entitled to seek compensation for unlawful arrest.

As reported, on 12 October the civic organization “Guards of the Law” held a picket outside the Lviv Regional Prosecutor’s Office demanding investigation of housing services irregularities and under the banner “Down with Prosecutor’s Office corruption!”. This was one of a series of pickets held each Tuesday. 

Oleksiy Verentsov, the Head of “Guards of the Law” had submitted notification about the pickets twice – general notification several months before the series of pickets began, and 2 days before the picket on 12 October. Pensioner Ihor Tanichkevcyh was also taken to the station. He had taken part in the picket to protest against the prosecutor’s dragging out examination of his case for years.

The City Council had turned to the court to try to get the picket banned on 11 October, however the court had merely opened proceedings into the case, but had issued no court order. On 13 October the court did impose a ban on the weekly pickets, however obviously only from the next picket scheduled for 19 October (not the one the day before! )

The civic organization, considering the court order to be unwarranted and unlawful, lodged an appeal.

There was thus, at the time of the picket on 12 October, no court order banning the picket. Nor was there any disruption of public order, as can be seen from the videos.

The police nonetheless demanded that the picket be stopped and tried to take the organizers to the police station. They claimed that there was no permit, and this “justification” even appeared in the court ruling despite the fact that Article 39 of the Constitution requires only notification of a planned event, not a permit. For this reason, the demonstrators refused to stop the picket. It should be noted that the Deputy Head of the District Police Department appeared personally to stop the peaceful gathering.

On 14 October Oleksiy Verentsov and Ihor Tanichkevych were sentenced by the Halytsky Court in Lviv to 3 days administrative arrest for disobeying a police officer’s legitimate order and infringing the procedure for organizing a peaceful gathering (Articles 185 and 185-1 of the Code of Administrative Offences).  Due to the court failing to take the day under arrest into account, the men spent 4 days in custody.

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