United Opposition cries foul as leader of election headquarters arrested
Ludmila Nikitkina, Deputy Head of the Pervomaisk Election Headquarters of the Batkivshchyna United Opposition was arrested on 27 July. The police on Saturday gave their explanation, saying that she had been arrested as a suspect in a criminal investigation initiated under Article 191 § 4 of the Criminal Code (embezzlement, misappropriation or acquisition of property through abuse of official position).
Their report states that officers from the Department Against Economic Crimes arrived on Friday evening at around 19.00 in Pervomaisk in the Mykolaiv region (it is not stated whether they came to her home) to take her to the police station. She was informed that she was suspected of a crime under the above-mentioned article.
The report states that “the suspect began loudly refusing and in a few minutes she was joined by a number of citizens who began obstructing the police from carrying out their lawful actions”.
It goes on to say that the head of the Pervomaisk Police appeared and in his presence the person who said he was representing Ms Nikitskina was presented with documents allegedly confirming the foundation and legality of the police officers’ actions.
According to the report, Ms Nikitkina apparently agreed to go with the police. She has been detained under Article 115 of the Criminal Procedure Code with the issue of a restraint measure needing to be resolved within the next 72 hours.
The United Opposition also issued a press release on Saturday saying that the arrest was an attempt to put pressure on the anticipated candidate in No. 132 single-mandate electoral district, Arkady Kornatsky whom they say is planning to stand from the United Opposition and has every chance of winning.
Citing Ms Nikitina’s lawyers, they say that the Deputy Head of the Pervomaisk Election Headquarters of the Batkivshchyna United Opposition was arrested unlawfully and that the police account of the events is false.
Her lawyers assert that she was tricked into going to the police station where she was interrogated until 3 a.m.
It is unclear why the police should have appeared on a Friday evening. Nor any Friday evening, since the election campaign for October’s parliamentary elections begins on Monday 30 July.