More on the “Zaporizhya Terrorists”


One of the young men detained after the destruction of the monument to Stalin in Zaporizhya has, via his lawyer, issued an open appeal to the Prosecutor General and Human Rights Ombudsperson.

Vasyl Labaichuk states that he was detained in the Ternopil region on 9 January 2011 without any explanation or protocol of detention being drawn up.  He says he was taken in turn to Zbarazh, Ivano-Frankivsk and Zaporizhya where he was interrogated without a lawyer by the police and SBU [Security Service]. He says they refused to allow him to see a lawyer and made him sign a form saying he didn’t want one. It was only on the tenth day, he says, that he was allowed to ring his father to inform him of what was happening.

“On 19 January I was taken to the Zhovtnevy District Court in Zaporizhya where I was held for some time in special premises under guard. Then they made me sign that I had read a document called “Resolution”, which was not in Ukrainian, my native language”.

The document indicated that the judge had ordered remand in custody in the SIZO [pre-trial detention centre] in Zaporizhya on the grounds “that the court had established that V. Labaichuk has no permanent place of residence in Zaporizhyam committed a medium seriousness crime punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment; the crime was committed by a group of people and because the investigators have not presently established the full circle of people in this case and their whereabouts, this gives the court grounds to assume that at liberty V. Labaichuk could obstruct the course of establishing the truth in the given criminal case by directly influencing witnesses in the matter, hide from the investigators and court, and also commit a crime again”.

Vasyl Labaichuk says that this is a lie, that he was not allowed to be in the court when the judge chose the preventive measures and a lawyer was also not permitted.

In fact, he says, despite the order, he was not sent to the SIZO and is still being held in the Zavodsky District Police Station in Zaporizhya, with inadequate sanitary conditions and receiving food only once a day, sometimes every second day.

He says that it was only on 20 January that lawyer Viktor Nikazakov was allowed to see him. The lawyer’s request to see his client in private was turned down.

On the same day Vasyl Labaichuk was handed a resolution  dated 18 January 2011, saying that he was accused of having with A. Zanuda; A. Onofryjchuk; E. Andryushchenko; R. Khmara; V. Abramyv; P. Taran; Y. Ponomarenko and V. Vyshnyuk gone to the regional committee of the Communist Party and damaged a small architectural construction, the bust to Stalin.  Vasyl Labaichuk is accused of having videoed the action and posting it on the Internet.

(The same bust to the dictator was destroyed by an explosion on 31 December – translator).

Vasyl Labaichuk is charged with hooliganism over the act.  He stresses that he is not denying his participation in the action of 28 January 2010,  but says that he does not regret this and that the investigators and court are misrepresenting his motives. He is a law-abiding citizen, he says, maintaining the public morality he asserts is native to Ukrainians and also keeps public order.

He cites the law On Holodomor 1932-1933 which states that Holodomor was the genocide of the Ukrainian people and committed by Stalin’s regime. He believes it is clear that a monument to the bloody dictator on Ukrainian territory is an act of disrespect to the Law of Ukraine and norms of public morality.

He says he and his colleagues saw no other alternative, that there act was without violence and absolute respect for the law and morality. It was aimed against the danger for the interests of Ukrainian society and the Ukrainian State posed by cynical and arrogant propaganda of Stalinism.

He says that none of them has obstructed the investigators or tried to influence witnesses and that it is quite clear that the unlawful deprivation of liberty in inhuman conditions and their being declared guilty before a fair trial bears the hallmarks of torture.

He alleges that the investigators are trying to get them to admit involvement in some kind of explosions, arson attacks on offices of the Party of the Regions, and that their testimony is being videoed. He adds that the investigator is pushing him to says that the civic organization Tryzbu which he belongs to is an armed organization.

He points out that the search of his flat, which according to the Criminal Procedure Code, is carried out to find weapons, things gained by criminal means etc, in fact, removed a number of books with a nationalist content. 

“It is clear that the actions of the investigators are overtly commissioned, repressive and of a political nature, while at the same time verging on some kind of absurdity, nonsense, their methods are clearly against the law. In any case I demand immediate release and that my case be sent for a fair trial.”

Vasyl Labaichuk states that the test of this appeal has been prepared by lawyer Viktor Nikazakov at his request.

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