Tax Code protester asks for political asylum in European country
Journalist Yehor Sobolyev reports that “yet another person has fled from the lack of justice in Ukraine, and wishes him well. Serhiy Kostakov, who spent seven and a half months in custody from December 2010 charged with blocking the road and damaging a car during the mass peaceful protest against the new Tax Code in November 2010, is presently in a European country where he has asked for asylum.
Sobolyev stresses that Serhiy is no politician or even member of a political party. His business involves isolating pipes.
In November 2010, hearing that the Tax Code protesters had nothing to eat, Serhiy gathered thermos flasks and headed off for Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square where the protest was taking place with a massive crowd around the anniversary of the Orange Revolution – translator].
On that day the protesters blocked one road and a few of them kicked at a car that tried to break through the blockade. Serhiy, who was accused of this, has analyzed the situation and believes that the attack was orchestrated by the police.
Yehor Sobolyev points out that if you look at the prosecutions over the Tax Code protesters it is clear that they were initiated not on the principle of who did what, but on whether a person had a criminal record. The case against him back then was run by an officer and now the head of the nearest police station who was present during the events in November 2010.
The author writes that whereas with the others accused over the Tax Code protests (of damaging the granite stone on the Square], the judges were clearly not enamoured with the role being foisted on them, the judge in Kostakov’s case, Kristina Tarasyuk, insisted on bringing the case to a sentence. He recounts that the police officers who were summoned as witnesses and said in court that they didn’t remember anybody, with some even saying that they had never seen Kostakov, were asked by the Prosecutor Vitaly Panov if they could read the officers what they had stated during the criminal investigation. The police witnesses agreed to listen to “how they saw Kostakov abusing or threatening the driver, or hitting the car”. After this they said that yes, they recalled that this was how it was. After that Judge Tarasyuk rejected Kostakov’s request that the officers at least point him out on the police video.
Serhiy Kostakov received a phone call from a stranger who told him that they were waiting for him in prison, after which he decided to flee, leaving his wife and daughter in Kyiv. He is presently awaiting a decision regarding his application for asylum.
See the links below for more information about recent intimidation and the criminal prosecution.