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30.05.2011

Human rights activists: There is political persecution in Ukraine but it can be stopped

   

 

At Friday’s roundtable on Political Persecution in Ukraine in 2010-2011, human rights activists analyzed the course of the most prominent of the prosecutions of political and civic figures in Ukraine. The conclusion of specialists was that in all cases the investigators had shown bias, and that there had been attempts to provoke certain people to commit offences.

Various avenues considered included calling on foreign governments to declare persona non grata officials implicated in political persecution, and for the victims themselves to seek redress through international law.

The last Report of Human Rights Organizations already spoke of the bias from the courts and investigators in the cases involving charges against former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko and a number of other members of the former government. The human rights specialists point out as evidence of this that the same offences that some are being prosecuted for are being carried out by those in power.  See Selective criminal prosecutions are the hallmark of an undemocratic

Yevhen Zakharov notes that the political flavour of the cases against Yury Lutsenko, the national organization Tryzub, Tax Code protesters and others is becoming increasingly more obvious.

“With the Lutsenko case the investigation is complete, all legal documents for releasing him from custody pending trial are ignored by the court. It was for this reason that Lutsenko went on hunger strike. The human rights community believes that the cases against the opposition and civic activists are politically motivated, and this is confirmed by international organizations, including the EU, the Council of Europe, OSCE, and the US Department of State”,

Lawyer and participant in the protests against the draft Tax Code, Oleksandr Danylyuk also noted political persecution not linked with court cases. He says that on the eve of protests they initiate a criminal investigation over previous protests, call thousands of people for question so as to intimidate people, put them off taking part in protests.  Then they terminate the investigation.

Another method is to provoke people into committing offences as happened during the protests over the red (Soviet) flag in Lviv and the shooting from a shock pistol after which a criminal investigation was initiated against several local members of right-wing groups.

Lawyer Kateryna Levchenko suggests that one mechanism for preventing political persecution is to make collective appeals to the governments of other countries resulting in officials implicated in politically motivated prosecutions being refused entry to other countries.

Radio Svoboda also approached members of the ruling majority who denied that there was any political nature in the prominent prosecutions in process.

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