Elections out of the way – now the prosecutions begin


As feared, Volodymyr Derkach, one of the leaders of the protest by Donetsk Chornobyl clean-up workers in 2011 and candidate in a single-mandate electoral district during the last elections, is facing criminal proceedings.  The case involves a number of worrying details, including failure by the victim to identify Derkach from a photo identikit choice of four photos,  He chose a person quite different from Derkach, then later changed his testimony apparently after seeing Derkach’s photo in a Donetsk newspaper.  As a candidate in the elections, this would not have been the first photo published, and yet the victim did not initially identify Derkach as his assailant.

Volodymyr Derkach also asserts that after the attack on a student, the police questioned people living nearby and actually showed them his photograph.

He says that the attempt to bring criminal proceedings against him is aimed at casting a slur on the United Opposition and deterring people from trying to prevent the ruling party’s total control., He asserts that from 13 September last year (6 weeks before the elections – translator), the Prosecutor’s office of the Proletarsky District ordered the investigators to report everyday on the case. This he believes demonstrates that the case against him is trumped up and has been commissioned.

During the election campaign, leaflets were pasted up on buildings, fences and in apartment block entrances claiming that Derkach was a hooligan and into debauched behaviour.  Similar statements also appeared in the local media.

The elections ended with only members of the ruling party being elected from Donetsk. Then the troubles began.  He was informed on 21 December that he was suspected of having carried out an attack on Mr X.

Opposition movements in the Donetsk oblast have issued a statement in defence of Volodymyr Derkach.  The statement is signed by the leaders of the Independent Miners Union of Donbas; “Civic Position”; the Party for the Defence of the Motherland, and the Donetsk branch of the rightwing party VO Svoboda.  They have called on all members of the public and people in other countries to defend the former Chornobyl clean up worker from politically motivated repression


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