Road Control activist jailed for not handing over his licence
Maxim Mahera from the civic watchdog which monitors drivers’ rights Dorozhny Kontrol [Road Control] has been jailed for three days for refusing to hand over to a traffic police officer his driving licence and car registration document. On Tuesday a district court in Odessa under Judge V. Ivanchuk found the activist guilty of disobeying a police officer (Article 185 of the Code of Administrative Offences) and ordered imprisonment for three days.
According to the court order, but not the activist himself, Maxim Mahera caused a dangerous situation for the traffic police. When asked by the officer, A. Chaban, he showed his licence but refused to let Chaban take it in his hands. Judge Ivanchuk stated in his ruling that the road code demands that drivers hand over their licence and don’t just show them. He therefore concluded that Maxim had shown deliberate disobedience to a police officer.
Road Control points out that the road code changed in 2011 with drivers no longer obliged to hand over their licences, simply show them (Article 16 of the Law on Road Transport). The judge has therefore used a code no longer in force.
The three day imprisonment in either case seems worryingly extreme.
Road Control monitors the work of the traffic police and breaches of drivers’ rights. There have been a number of attacks on activists and situations of conflict between traffic police officers and Road Control journalists over the last couple of years (see below).