Volodarsky released after serving sentence for protest over Morality Commission


Oleksandr Volodarsky has been released after serving a sentence from 1 March this year in a corrective institution outside Kyiv.

Volodarsky, a civic activist who has been working as a journalist, was sentenced under Article 296 (“group hooliganism”) over a protest outside the Verkhovna Rada in 2009.  Oleksandr and an unidentified woman, both naked, simulated sexual intercourse to express their protest against the activities of the National Expert Commission for the Defence of Public Morality.

In March, the civic movement Stop Censorship issued a statement regarding the sentence meted out to Oleksandr Volodarsky and the criminal investigation initiated against the Head of the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group, Dmytro Groisman.  In it they state:

“We are convinced that in both cases we are dealing with the flaws in legislation and application of law practice of the court as well as the law enforcement agencies which are continuing the practice of a totalitarian country in forming charges and punishing with the most severe sanctions for expressing protest, albeit “in cynical form”.

Whatever the aesthetic value of the performance against the Verkhovna Rada, this is not a matter for deprivation of liberty. However obscene the content of the statements in a private blog, this cannot be grounds for criminal prosecution.

Oleksandr said that he was feeling full of energy.  He may need to be since the document he showed the Svidomo correspondent is the only one he has after the Pechersky District Court  in Kyiv attached his internal passport to the file and the judge refused to return it.  The document is vital for registration, employment, medical services, etc

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