Lviv court convicts nationalist deputies over the events on 9 July


The Halytsky District Court in Lviv has found two brothers, both deputies in the Sambir District Council from the right-wing Svoboda Party guilty of assaulting police officers during the events on 9 May. Mykhailo Kovaliv received a 1.3 year suspended sentence and his brother Volodymyr – a 1 year suspended sentence. Both men were released from custody in the courtroom.

The men’s lawyer, Ruslan Valko says that he will be appealing against the ruling and says that the men are innocent.

Mykhailo Kovaliv was sentenced under Article 293 of the Criminal Code for “organizing group actions leading to flagrant infringement of public order or considerable disruption to the work of transport, enterprises, institutions or organizations, as well as taking an active part in such actions”, as well as under Article 345 for deliberately inflicting blows and light bodily injuries on police officers who were carrying out their duties. His brother was found guilty of the offence under Article 345 § 2.

The press service of the Svoboda Party explained that the brothers had been arrested on 15 May, and initially interrogated as witnesses over the events of 9 May. On 18 May both men were remanded in custody.

There was provocation from both sides on 9 May, and few analysts believe that it was not encouraged, if not positively orchestrated. 

It is disturbing, if not unexpected, that only nationalists have been prosecuted. The police, for example, have refused to initiate a criminal investigation against Sviatoslav Solilnyk who used a shock pistol with prohibited cartridges, wounding the Aide to Lviv City Council Deputy Oleh Kovpak. At the last local elections year Sviatoslav Solilnyk stood for office for the Vynnykiv City Council as No. 3 in the Party of the Regions list. He is the son of a police colonel who is presently Aide to the Head of the Lviv Regional Police. (The latter information was originally published by the Svoboda Party). 

A number of highly respected public figures, such as Myroslav Marynovych and Taras Voznyak, condemned clear indications of provocation on 9 May.  They played a prominent role in the civic attempts to thwart any further attempts on 22 June (see: Memory without Aggression)

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