Activist jailed for 7 days for visit to Mezhyhirya


On the same day that the European Court of Human Rights urged Ukraine to sort out its legislation on peaceful assembly, further worrying reports are emerging about ongoing violations of this fundamental right.

The journalist investigation initiative Svidomo has reported , that Maxim Panov, one of the members of Democratic Alliance detained on 11 April in the village of Novi Petrivtsi near the President’s controversial residence has been jailed for 7 days.  The information comes from Maxim Panov’s colleague, Viktor Andrusiv.  He says that the Democratic Alliance know only that the ruling was passed by Judge Rudyuk from the (local) Vyshhorod Court, and at the time of reporting were heading off to find out what was going on. 

Two other members of the Alliance detained – Vasyl Hatsko and Andriy Bohdanovych were fined 170 UAH on Wednesday.  They were accused of resisting police and infringing the procedure for organizing rallies.

On Wednesday it was reported that four activists had been detained – there is no mention of what happened to Oleksandr Boikul.

The very fact that four young people were detained is disturbing.  They, together with a TVi film crew, had travelled to Novi Petrivtsi in order to investigate how the authorities were fighting “the flood” and to help them eliminate its consequences.

This flood, used by Kyiv District Administrative Court as pretext for banning an entirely peaceful protest action near the President’s sumptuous residence at Mezhyhirya was nowhere to be seen.  There were, however, a number of police officers, as well as Berkut riot police, who gave the journalists from TVi a hard time and then detained four young activists.

In the light of such flagrant disregard for fundamental liberties, it is worth repeating what the protest was supposed to be over.

The Democratic Alliance had planned to hold a peaceful protest near Mezhyhirya.  They were hoping to call on the President to pay attention to the state of the roads, improving safety and quality.  The President himself appoints and dismisses the head of the relevant road transport department.  Maxim Panov from the Alliance says that if money for roads has been siphoned off, the President must answer since he appoints and dismisses the person in charge.  These comments were widely read on the Internet, and it is interesting that Panov is the activist who may have been jailed for 7 days.

There is presently no head of the department on road transport since the former head, Volodymyr Demishkan, a person close to the President who appointed him, has now become an MP.

The Novy Petrivtsi authorities have applied for bans on every peaceful protest near Mezhyhirya.  These applications have unfortunately all been allowed by the court. 

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