Tax Code Protesters arrested
According to one of the coordinators of the protest against the new Tax Code, Oleksandr Danylyuk, on Tuesday evening a court remanded in custody three of the protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] in Kyiv.
Mr Danylyuk says that this was learned from one of the protesters, Oleksandr Mandych, who was released after being held in custody for three days in a temporary holding facility.
“Oleksandr lived with us in the tent camp and was co-organizer of the protests. Last Saturday he was forcibly detained outside his brother’s home. Without presenting any documents, they took him to the Central MIA Investigation Department in Kyiv”.
“There he was informed verbally that he was accused on deliberate damage of property not belonging to him and taken to a temporary holding facility. At present he is hiding at the home of relatives. He says that while in custody they used force against him, knocking out two teeth”, Danylyuk recounts.
He says that on Tuesday evening Mandych and three other Tax Code protesters were taken to the Shevhenkivsky District Court in Kyiv.
Under Judge N. Ponomarenko, Mandych was released from custody while the other three – I. Harkavenko, O. Zaplatkin and V. Hruzinov were remanded in custody.
“Those three guys were not organizers of Maidan (i.e. the protest on Maidan Nezalezhnosti], they only came to the tent camp several times, brought us food and helped”, Oleksandr Danylyuk says.
According to his information, the three are accused under the article of the Criminal Code on “deliberate destruction or damage to others’ property which caused large-scale damage” according to prior conspiracy by a group of people.
Kyiv Post reports that the men are accused of damaging the marble tiles on the square when driving metal stakes in to hold up tents. It states that “Kyiv Post staff saw protest participants drive in stakes between the tiles without damaging them”.
Kyiv Post adds: “According to police documents, the last names of the three protest participants under investigation by police and allegedly detained are: Harkavenko, Zaplatkin and Gruzinov. A fourth protest participant, Oleksandr Mandych, told the Kyiv Post that he was detained on Dec. 25. But, he added, he was released on Dec. 28 after Kyiv’s Shevchenkivsky district court ruled that police had no grounds to keep him in custody as the charges and severity of the alleged crime did not warrant such measures.
“Speaking with the Kyiv Post, Mandych described his arrest as follows: “They detained me Saturday 10am. That day, when they had me in custody, one of the police hit me, knocking out one of my teeth. They told me Harkavenko, Zaplatkin and Gruzinov are already in custody.”
Volodymyr Polischuk, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry in Kyiv, could not immediately confirm or deny when contacted by the Kyiv Post that the following individuals were detained.
According to police documents obtained by the Kyiv Post, Serhiy Melnychenko, one of the protest organizers, is also being charged by authorities in connection with the damages that allegedly occurred to the marble tiles on Kyiv’s main square.”