Centre for Civil Liberties accuses Police of lying
The Centre for Civil Liberties has issued a statement expressing deep concern over what it calls untruthful information circulated by the Kyiv Police Department in an attempt to justify the detention on Sunday of civic activist Nazar Boyarsky and unwarranted dispersal of a peaceful protest.
It explains that on Sunday 1 July the closure was due to take place of the exhibition Human Rights Offside which has been following the same route as Euro 2012, being presented in Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kyiv.
The exhibition was organized by the Centre for Civil Liberties in partnership with the Czech NGO People in Need and using 10 stands provided information about political repression in the country; police torture; encroachment on freedom of speech; pressure on the judiciary and social inequality. The Exhibition’s partners were the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; the Kharkiv Human Rights Group; the Kharkiv Youth Human Rights Group; the Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors onLaw Enforcement; the Debate Academy; the Leva Society; the Sim Centre for Legal and Political Research; Donetsk Memorial; the Donetsk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, and others.
A letter-writing marathon was organized in parallel with the exhibition with letters in support of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski sentenced to 4 years imprisonment last year in a trial which has been condemned by all democratic countries.
The Centre for Civil Liberties stresses that it notified the city authorities both of the photograph exhibition and the plans to raise signatures. Despite having all the relevant documentation and without any legal basis, the police claimed that the exhibition and around 10 activists “hindered traffic” and ordered the activists to dismantle the exhibition.
The police presented a copy not formally authorized of a court ruling banning peaceful assembly on a number of specific streets which did not include Rusaveli St where the event was taking place. When the organizers pointed this out, the activists were surrounded by a tight cordon of police who began dismantling the stands. They refused to draw up a protocol on the spot and detained one of the organizers Nazar Boyarsky threatening to hold him in the police station for 24 hours “since the activists didn’t want to come to an agreement”. All of this was captured on video.
Andriy Didenko from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group was told in the Pechersky District Police Station that Nazar had not been brought there. In fact he was held for about 40 minutes in the courtyard with the police refusing to register this, saying that he would shortly be released. Nazar refused to sign the administrative offence protocol drawn up saying that he did not agree with it. An examination of the case is due at 14.00 on 2 July. Thus far the information stands from the exhibition have not been returned.
The Centre for Civil Liberties will be appealing against the unlawful actions of the police in court. It calls on the Public Relations Department of the Kyiv Police to conscientiously fulfil their duty to provide the public with honest information.
The Centre for Civil Liberties was created in 2007 to foster democracy and human rights in the Post-Soviet region.