Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Freedom of peaceful assembly

Tax Code Protester complains of surveillance measures


Serhiy Kostakov

For the last month and a half Serhiy Kostakov, his wife and neighbours have been constantly aware of people watching them near the building. Sturdy young men take turns standing on the street, near the car or in the courtyard (the photo is of one of these unidentified individuals).

As reported, following the mass peaceful protest against the new Tax Code in autumn last year, Serhiy Kostakov was arrested and held in custody for seven and a half months. This was probably longer than any sentence he would receive for the alleged offence. He is accused of blocking the road and damaging a car during the protest in the centre of Kyiv. He asserts that on the contrary, he called on the protesters not to touch the cars. His words are confirmed by the police recording. He says that it is clear from the video that others were hitting the car.  He was finally released earlier in July on a signed undertaking not to abscond.  At the time he said he planned to lodge a complaint over the actions of the police – translator). 

Serhiy is continuing to protest against the actions of the authorities, and has taken part in the protests by Afghanistan War veterans (and others) against cuts in social benefits.

In view of the surveillance measures, and fearing deliberate provocation, he has (with the help of a lawyer helping him free of charge) made a statement with the Prosecutor and police asking them to ascertain who is following him.

 “Since 15.09.2011, I, S.Y. Kostakov have each day noticed near my apartment block unidentified individuals in plain clothes who take turns standing near the entrance and record when I come home. Fears over this situation arise due that the fact that the surveillance may be linked with my civic activities.

In accordance with Article 32 of the Constitution No one shall be subject to interference in his or her personal and family life, except in cases envisaged by the Constitution of Ukraine.

This same article, as well as Article 11 of the Law on Information, states that the collection, storage, use and dissemination of confidential information about a person without his or her consent shall not be permitted, except in cases determined by law, and only in the interests of national security, economic welfare and human rights

I therefore have well-founded cause to assume that the law enforcement bodies are carrying out certain investigative operations with respect to myself.

Pursuant to Article 32 of the Constitution, every citizen has the right to examine information about himself or herself, that is not a state secret or other secret protected by law, at the bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, institutions and organisations.

On the basis of the above and guided by Article 32 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the Law on information, I would ask:

for this statement to be considered and a full and unbiased check carried out of the information set out in it;

to be informed according to the results of the check of the legality of any investigative operations carried out with respect to myself;

if such operations are not being carried out, for the proper measures of Prosecutor reaction to be undertaken in order to put an end to the violation of my constitutional right to privacy.

I would ask to be informed of the results of the examination of this appeal within the legally established timeframe at the given correspondence address.


Photographs of the unidentified individuals constantly taking turns to stand outside my home at … “

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