MIA denies any obstruction by traffic police
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Anatoly Mohylyov, has responded to a deputy query from Volodymyr Marushchenko (Christian Democratic Union) and stated that an official check by the MIA found that there had been no cases where the traffic people obstructed believers of the Orthodox Church under the Kyivan Patriarchate [UOC KP]
Mr Marushchenko had asked the Ministry to thoroughly check allegations of coordinated obstructed by traffic police officers stopping believers trying to get to Kyiv for the ceremonies to mark the Festival of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus from the Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ternopil, Rivne, Vinnytsa, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Kharkiv and Odessa regions.
The Institute of Religious Freedom reports that Mr Marushchenko is not happy with the response and suggests that the check was not thorough.
“The MIA management was unable to give reasons for stopping three coaches of the Sumy delegation of the Kyiv Patriarchate at the exit from Kyiv. There are also no explanations for the obstructions to believers from the Lviv, Chernivtsi, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Odessa regions. We cannot therefore yet talk of an objective and full official check.”
Mr Marushchenko is therefore planning to initiate a deputy query to the MIA management asking for a proper investigation.
From a report at: http://www.irs.in.ua
More information about the alleged obstruction can be found here: http://khpg.org.ua/index.php?id=1280914081
As well as the worrying number of allegations, there is also the fact that such reports were also received in May, as well as over a planned protest in September. On each occasion, the reports have been remarkable similar in different regions.
Of concern also is the fact that there has been no mention of any of these accusations, etc, on the State-owned television channel UTV-1.
For these reasons, a letter with a number of questions was sent to the Deputy Head of the President’s Administration, as well as to various EU structures and others. The relevant section in full:
“The following words from a news report on 28 July, Festival of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus, are difficult not to see as cynical mockery: "Neither rain, nor heat wave, nor the hundreds of kilometres journey, stopped the pilgrims who came to the Holy Liturgy at the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra" http://1tv.com.ua/uk/news/2010/07/28/914
No direct untruth here, after all it was officers of the traffic police who stopped pilgrims, and not those believers heading to the Moscow Patriachs liturgy in the Lavra.
Did the reports of such obstruction from various regions of the country not warrant a full check by the law enforcement bodies, not merely a blanket denial issued that very same day (which given the number of complaints over the spread of the country seems less than convincing)? It should be stressed that such reports had been received earlier, in May, wtih activists trying to reach an opposition rally in Kyiv apparently obstructed.
I find it difficult to imagine how such complaints, coming, I repeat, from different regions, could have not been considered of public importance. Would you not agree?
If you do not think that the above is in accordance with the Constitution and standards of information coverage by a State television channel, please inform what measures were taken to:
1) check likely incidents where believers constitutional rights were infringed;
2) ascertain why there was no thorough check into such allegations;
3) hold to answer those who obstructed the believers and / or those who failed to check the reports;
4) ensure objective coverage of events in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution
Time for Answers (http://www.telekritika.ua/pereklad_cenzura/2010-09-15/55851?theme_page=60& ). Some two weeks on, no answer has been forthcoming.