OPORA: Secrecy over arrest of Lviv TEC head unacceptable
On 29 September the SBU [Security Service] detained the Head of the Lviv Regional [Territorial] Electoral Commission [TEC] and member of the Ukrainian Social Democrat Party, Ihor Kravchuk. The next day the Lviv Regional Prosecutor initiated a criminal investigation under Article 157 of the Criminal Code (deliberately preventing a citizen from exercising their right to vote and stand for election). Under this article, the former head of the regional TEC could face imprisonment from three to five years.
OPORA were told in the Ukrainian Social Democrat Party office that the Head of the regional branch, Roman Kuzmych had in the morning given a brief commentary and then switched his phone off. On the other hand, the party Batkivshchyna (which in parliament is BYuT, the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, which the Ukrainian Social Democrat Party is part of) asserts that the case has been fabricated because Mr Kravchuk refused to register fake candidates put forward by ex-BYuT member, Ivan Denkovych.
The work of the Lviv Regional TEC is continuing as normal, but the new Head did not want to comment on Mr Kravchuk’s arrest.
OPORA had no success receiving information from either the Prosecutor or the SBU.
“The Civic Network OPORA considers that the initiating of a criminal investigation against people involved in preparing for the local elections requires from the enforcement structures maximum openness and transparency. In view of this, OPORA calls on the relevant structures to make public all reasons and detains of the arrest in view of the high-profile and importance of the case and thus avoid possible speculation and provocation during the election period.
It would also warn the enforcement structures and local authorities against using administrative resources and enforcement measures against participants in the electoral process.”