Tax Code Protest Activist remains in custody
There were protests on Sunday outside the Kyiv police temporary holding unit where Vitaly Gruzynov has been held for four days without a court order.
Svidomo reports that the court did not pass a ruling changing the restraint measure against Vitaly Gruzynov. However, despite having adjourned until 27 October, the court left him in custody. According to his lawyer, the investigators asked that he be forcibly brought to the court which the judge agreed to.
The above is confused because it is extremely difficult to understand what has happened, and why this scandalous case is being resurrected at all.
Vitaly Gruzynov was placed on the police wanted list on 6 April 2011. He is one of 7 activists accused of damaging the granite stone on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] in Kyiv during the peaceful protest by small business owners on Maidan in late November last year. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, criminal charges were laid against people who supposedly damaged the granite stone by securing protesters’ tents with spikes, as well as against a man who may or may not have damaged a car. The latter, Serhiy Kostakov, spent more than seven months remanded in custody before being finally released earlier in July on a signed undertaking not to abscond.
Lawyer from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union who is defending some of the accused, Oleh Levytsky has called this case unique in his legal practice. “For the first time in our history the regime has found a collection of down-and-outs and people who wanted to earn a few kopecks by holding a banner and has accused them of damaging granite covering. This is after the Party of the Regions itself in 2008 erected tents on Maidan, a fair number, if not the most in Maidan’s history, which can even be seen on photographs from the party’s official website.
Now they’ve collected up some innocent people and are stating to the whole world that they’ve found people who entered into a criminal conspiracy to damage the granite stone in the centre of a European capital.”
He added that this was the first time in independent Ukraine’s legal practice that people are facing criminal prosecution for exercising their constitutional right to peaceful assembly