Human Rights Activist Rimma Bilotserkivska to defy (wrong) court order



Rimma Bilotserkivska, head of a Severodonetsk human rights organization, Pravovy Prostir [Legal Realm], against whom an arrest warrant was issued on 23 May, has issued a statement to the press.  She explains that she has no intention of attending the next hearing in the Rubizhne Court as her case is under the jurisdiction of the Severodonetsk City Court.  She explains that the latter issued a ruling on the “criminal case” against her back in 2009 stipulating jurisdiction. This ruling was not subject to appeal.

She stresses that she is bound only by that ruling, and has no reason to attend hearings in any other court.  The logical solution, she suggests, would be to have a visiting court hearing in Severodonetsk, which she would be prepared to attend.

“I would furthermore stress that there is comprehensive information in the file material and evidence of falsification of the Rimma Bilotserkivska case which makes it possible for the Prosecutor to take a decision on withdrawing the charges with or without my participation”.

As reported, on 22 May a court in Rubizhne issued an arrest warrant on 22 May.  The justification given was that the activist had not appeared at two hearings and was therefore “hiding” from the court.  She had already stated clearly her refusal to attend hearings in a court with no jurisdiction over the case.

The criminal proceedings against her were initiated five years ago when she led a group of residents of an apartment block protesting against the destruction of a green area outside their homes. The authorities ignored them, and when the construction workers arrived and showed equally little interest in the residents’ objections. Ms Bilotserkivska saw no alternative but to climb up to stop the digging work.  The charges are of obstructing cranes. 

It should be stressed that it was widely known that Rimma Bilotserkivska was very likely to be standing for parliament in the October parliamentary elections. 

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