Mossad, FSB, and others: make yourself at home!
Marina Hovorukhina from the Human Rights Education Centre has responded with biting wit to the remarks already reported by Interior Ministry spokesperson Volodymyr Polishchuk. She suggests that the message to Mossad, FSB, (the Belarusian) KGB, MI5 and other security services is that Ukraine “respects your dangerous and highly necessary work. You can abduct people from our territory and we will call it a special operation and are ready to turn a blind eye to these actions of yours.
We also have experience of successfully shutting our eyes. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible in our country”.
This she says is how one could understand the following words of the Public Relations Spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, Volodymyr Polishchuk
“If there was a criminal offence, i.e. if a person was abducted, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Ukrainian or Russian Federation citizen, such material reaches the police in the form of a statement or information, it’s registered and an investigative check is carried out. On the basis, in fact, of an appeal from a lawyer, a woman born in 1983 that a person has been abducted. However the next day that person was alive and well and accompanied by the RF Security Service. It’s clear therefore that here it wasn’t criminals who abducted the person, or terrorists, but that an operation by other enforcement officers has been undertaken on Ukrainian territory.”
This is despite the infringement of all procedures which should have been followed, regarding extradition etc.
She quotes Mykhailo Tarakhkala from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union who is clear that the abduction of a person from Ukraine by foreign security services is a serious human rights violation. This means that the authorities have effectively admitted that foreign security services act with impunity on Ukrainian soil and do what they want.
If, however, the Ukrainian Security Service was involved, this means that the laws in Ukraine are not the same for everybody and if officials want, they can extradite anybody without any legal grounds. That, he warns, is merely the first step. “If a person continues to get in the way, he can simply be forced to disappear or got rid of some other way.”.
He adds that the unwillingness by the Interior Ministry to initiate a criminal investigation indicates unwillingness to investigate and provide explanation.
Marina Hovorukhina notes that this is not the first abduction from Ukraine. In December 2009 refugee from Uzbekistan Khamidullo Turhunov was abducted, then in 2011 Palestinian Dirar Abu Sisi, most likely by Mossad.
No reaction from Ukraine’s security service. Iryna Fedorovych from the Without Borders Project assumes that the SBU is either doing nothing or is helping foreign colleagues and bypassing the law. Either inaction or collaboration is a threat to Ukraine’s national security.
The author suggests that this means that people will continue to be abducted or disappear without any plan to fight this. “After all they need to maintain friendly relations with neighbouring countries.”