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14.12.2003 | Igor Stoliarov, Odessa

The Odessa court prohibited the planned protest actions, but they will be conducted

   

On 24 January the Odessa judicial power demonstrated its talents again. This time it was the Primorskiy district court and judge Irina Puchkova. The court showed the uncommon „“

On 22 January the Primorskiy district court of Odessa got from the mayor’s office the request to prohibit the protest actions against the increase of the tariffs for communal services and living accommodation, which was planned to be conducted on 25 January. As soon as on 23 January representatives of the parties „“, „“ and Communist party of Ukraine received the invitations to take part in the court session.

On 24 January the trial was hold. It lasted for almost five hours. Judge Puchkova satisfied none of the petitions of the opposition representatives and their advocates. The judge even ignored the fact that the organizers of the actions invited to the court were not familiarized with the arguments adduced against them by city mayor Ruslan Bodelian. Andrey Puchkov, a representative of the claimant came to the courtroom without the proper ID, and this fact also became the reason of long controversies.

The court did not take into account the demand of Valeriy Kochetov, the President of the Odessa human rights protection academy, who acted as the advocate of the defendants, about the distrust to judge Irina Puchkova. The request of the opposition, who asked to permit the journalists to make the video record of the trial, also was not complied.

Ms. Puchkova treated the operators of the TV companies „“ and „ plus“, who were present at the trial, rather originally. The journalists were ordered to put their cameras away and to stop the shooting. The judge ignored all mentions of the rights of journalists and the right for free information. Judge Puchkova also did not react at the request of a correspondent of radio „“ to express her personal opinion about the scandalous events that occurred at the trial. When the correspondent of radio „“ turned to Andrey Malakhin, the deputy head of the juridical department, the latter answered: „ do not want to give you the interview. It is my right“

In order to express their protest against the behavior of judge Puchkova the representatives of the opposition refused to participate in the trial and left the courtroom. Heads of regional organizations „“ and „ bratstvo“ left the courtroom together with the representatives of parties „“, „“ and communist party. Yet, the judge told that the protest was „“ and continued the trial.

Finally the court verdict was pronounced prohibiting the march along the central streets of the city and the meeting of the opposition, which were planned to be conducted on 25 January. The verdict contained the demand to obey the decision of the city council about the conduction of meetings and street actions.

The representatives of the opposition declared that they would not cancel the planned protest actions.

Fedor Nariychuk, the head of the Odessa oblast organizations of the party „“, told:

„ was shocked by the court sitting hold in the Primorskiy district court of Odessa. It is obvious that the judge fulfilled the order of the interested persons and the trial was biased.

We had no opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the writ of the mayor and the pretenses of the city council.

Such behavior destroys the faith in the justice. This is a real demonstration of the essence of the Ukrainian legislative, executive and judicial branches of power. The judicial power protects not people, but the interests of the authorities“

Oles Yanchuk, the head of the Odessa organizations „“, is sure that „ processes were hold in Ukraine in late 80s and early 90s of the past century. I underwent such trials more than once and I am very sorry that all this is repeated in the independent Ukrainian state“

Leader of the oblast organizations of UNA-UNSO Andriy Yusov assured that the action of 25 January would take place regardless of the weather. „ is the decision of the Coalition of public organizations and common Odessa dwellers. The authorities must understand this and reverse the verdict that contradicts to the interest of the majority of the city population“

Meanwhile the city officials activated other methods to impede the planned protest action. They prepared some actions for veterans that would be conducted at the same time as the protest action, parents’ meetings were unexpectedly appointed on 25 January in many schools.

P.S.In spite of the resistance of the city power and the very cold weather the Odessa dwellers supported the appeal of the opposition to express the decisive protest against the decision of the Odessa city council about the increase of the tariffs for communal services and living accommodation.

On 25 January the participants of the protest action gathered at the Kulikova Square and marched along the central streets.

The public meeting was organized in the Dumska Square near the city hall. About 7-10 thousand people were present at the meeting.

The participants of the action unanimously approved the resolution, in which they demanded:

„ gather urgently the special session of the city council, at which the deputies must:

-cancel the decision of the Odessa city council „ increasing the tariffs for communal services and living accommodation“

-cancel the decision on increasing the fare for using the route taxis;

-cancel the decision on introducing the payments by the minute for the telephone calls inside the city.“

The authors of the resolution declared that if these demands would not be fulfilled, they would start the campaign for the pre-term dismissal of the Odessa mayor and city council „ neglecting the pre-election promises and the rights of city dwellers. There are no other ways.“

The participants of the meeting unanimously expressed the distrust to city mayor Ruslan Bodelan.

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