Human Rights in Ukraine


Court sends case over “anti-Yanukovych graffiti” back to police


If we can’t say the President is a former prisoner, arrest us for saying 2 + 2 = 4

On 11 April around 20 young people gathered outside the Voroshylovsky District Court in Donetsk.  Their banners read: “The capital of Ukraine is Kyiv”; “2 + 2 = 4”, and others.  One of the demonstrators, Dmytro Dyadyk explained to that “whether we like it or not, our President did serve prison sentences and that is just as much an obvious fact as that 2 + 2 = 4”.

As reported, the police and courts have of late made such affirmation of the perfectly obvious necessary.  Since the beginning of March measures have been taken against students from Kherson and Donetsk found pasting posters with a photo of Viktor Yanukovych and a slight, but crucial difference in the words of a famous Soviet song.  The relevant line in the original says “I don’t know another country [other than the USSR – translator] where people breathe so freely”.  The changed version reads: “I don’t know another country whose President is a former prisoner”

It should be noted that Viktor Yanukovych did indeed serve two prison terms on criminal charges.

Despite this, the two Kherson students detained on 29 February for pasting up the leaflets have been fined, with the “offence” being quite surreal. On 28 March the Dniprovsk District Court in Kherson fined them 221 UAH (a little over 20 EUR) for “spreading untruthful rumours which could arouse panic among the population or disrupt public order”, an administrative offence (Article 173-1 of the Code of Administrative Offences). 

Following the initial police actions against the two Kherson students, a group of young people, having formed the System for Collective Safety of Young People MAMA, held actions in support of them.  Three young men were detained in Donetsk.

On Wednesday at the Voroshylovsky District Court in Donetsk , Judge Buktiyarova decided to have the administrative material regarding these three young people returned to the Voroshylovsky District Police Station for additional work on the charges. She pointed out the protocol on administrative offences did not confirm the circumstances and the court had not been provided with documents presenting grounds for bringing charges under Article 173 of the Code of Administrative Offences (petty hooliganism)”.

Oleksandr Kiselyov, Dmytro Dyadyk and Bohdan Manyukhov have already lodged complaints against their unlawful detention with the City Prosecutor and to the head of the police station. They plan to continue until they are exonerated and the officials who unlawfully detained them and took them to the police station are held to answer. 

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