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02.07.2012

Police interference in the electoral process

   

The Luhansk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] sees the most negative trend in June to be an increase in the number of cases of interference by the police in the activities of likely parliamentary election candidates.

On 8 June the police in Pervomaisk tried to detain the Stakhanov politician Serhiy Shakov and take him to the police station, accusing him of organizing an unauthorized meeting.

CVU points out that the police behaviour was in breach of Article 11 §§ 4 and 5 of the Law on the Police, which state that detaining a person accused of an administrative offence is permissible only if it is necessary to establish their identity or if the protocol cannot be drawn up on the spot.

CVU is also critical of the selectiveness in the police actions since analogous meetings are regularly held with future voters by Serhiy Horokhiv; Volodymyr Honchariv; Yury Ternikhov, with the police not paying any attention.

According to Mr Shakov, he has experienced similar behaviour from the police aimed at preventing him from meeting with voters in Branka.

CVU also has received information that the police in Severodonetsk planned to stop a meeting between Shakhov and residents of the city, however the meeting did take place in premises rented for the purpose.

On 15 June in Luhansk police officers detained two activists of the VO Svoboda party who were posting leaflets in defence of the Ukrainian language. They were taken to the police station.

On 20 June in Pervomaisk 8 local police officers led by the Head of the Police Department tried to prevent workers hired by the Serhiy Shakov Fund from erecting a children’s play area with a swing in a place which has been standing empty for many years in the middle of a whole lot of high-rise buildings.  The police accused the workers of digging the swing into the ground without a proper permit for ground works.

CVU would point out:

Dozens of such children’s play areas are put up in the Luhansk region each month and nobody gets permits for this.

The police in any case do not have jurisdiction with respect to administrative offences linked with land relations.

CVU therefore considers the action by the police in Pervomaisk as unlawful, selective ad politically motivated. Its only purpose was to obstruct a specific politician.

This week the Severodonetsk police carried out a check of the activities of volunteers from one charitable fund created by a likely rival to Kunchenko at the elections.

CVU points out that such police interference is currently taking place on the territory of three electoral districts (106, 107 and 112)  which are all connected with representatives of the “Firtash group” within the Party of the Regions.

Luhansk Regional Branch of the CVU Press Office

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