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05.08.2008

Letter in defence of the Law: Refugees must not be extradited!

   

On 28 July 2008 the Prosecutor General issued instructions to extradite a recognized refugee Oleg Kuznetsov to Russia. In so doing, Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko ignored a court ruling, violated both domestic and international law and brought shame upon Ukraine once again.

  As of 6 August Oleksandr Medvedko has not resigned and there has been no response whatsoever from the President, the Cabinet of Ministers or the Verkhovna Rada. Instead, in reaction to the statement issued by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union from 30 July which demanded the resignation of the Prosecutor General, the latter’s press service published its own statement which tried to justified this flagrant violation of the rights of refugees, the principles of a law-based democracy and Ukraine’s international commitments.

  It is vital that a message is sent to the authorities in Ukraine that such violations cannot be tolerated. Please help us, if you agree with the letter below, by sending it to the addresses indicated.

  Thank you!

President Yushchenko

01220, Kyiv, Bankova St, 11

Or: by email to press@adm.gov.ua  (the Press Officer for the Press Service of the President’s Secretariat)

Dear Mr President,

I am writing to you in connection with the disgraceful extradition of a recognized refugee Oleg Kuznetsov whom the Prosecutor General ordered to be extradited to the Russian Federation on 28 July. In so doing, the Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko ignored a court ruling, violated domestic and international law and caused very considerable damage to Ukraine’s reputation.

On 5 March 2008 the State Committee for Nationalities and Religions granted Mr Kuznetsov refugee status finding his fears that his basic rights would be infringed if returned to the Russian Federation to be well-founded. In a ruling from 21 July, the District Administrative Court in Kyiv turned down the Prosecutor’s appeal against the decision to grant asylum.

Oleksandr Medvedko has not only not resigned, but judging by the official statement issued by the Prosecutor General’s Office Press Service considers this appalling contempt for the principles of a law-based country to be justified. Overt disregard for the law undermines public faith in the courts and international confidence in Ukraine’s commitment to the rule of law.

I would ask you to make a submission to have Oleksandr Medvedko removed from office as Prosecutor General in order to demonstrate unequivocally to the Ukrainian public and international community that Ukraine is building a law-based State which tolerates no contempt for court rulings, violations of the law and of the rights of refugees..

 

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