Release the Bankova Prisoners!


Please endorse this petition in defence of peaceful protesters and two journalists brutally beaten by Berkut riot police and now in custody on absurd charges.  (see below for how to sign)

Ten people have been remanded in custody for two months over events on Bankova St during the huge demonstration in Kyiv on December 1. They include two journalists who were carrying out their work. 

The men detained are all very different to the young louts in masks behind the confrontation involving a commandeered bulldozer, stone-throwing and similar near the president’s administration.  They are people of different ages and occupations and don’t know each other. Around half of them have small children

They are, in short, like other people taking part in the half-a-million strong peaceful demonstration in support of European integration.  Each of them could be our father, brother or son.

Nine men were first brutally beaten by Berkut riot officers, , then arrested.  They now face up to 8 years in prison on charges of “organizing riots”.

No proof was presented in court, no witnesses heard other than Berkut officers, yet that did not stop the judges at the Shevchenkivsky Court on Dec 3 from remanding nine seriously injured men in custody for two months. On Dec 5 Road Control journalist, Andriy Dzyndzya (and possibly two other Road Control activists) was also remanded for 2 months.

There are serious grounds, seen for example, on video recordings, for thinking that the run-in between the Berkut officers and a crowd of aggressive masked louts was planned provocation.  It was noticeable that around the president’s administration there was only a small number of police officers with the rest conscript soldiers who were pelted with stones by the masked louts.  The latter fled after Petro Poroshenko  intervened and stopped the confrontation.  It was only then that the Berkut riot police appeared and began bashing people who were not involved in the confrontation.  Suspicions are further fuelled by the investigators’ reluctance to establish who the people in masks were. This is despite indirect confirmation from Dmytro Korchynsky that his Bratstvo members were involved.  

It is also disturbing that the judges are willing to apply the most severe preventive measure available despite the lack of any evidence of the men’s involvement and the fact that many have small children. It is of enormous concern that two of those detained are journalists.

Our concern is shared by Amnesty International which believes that “they may have been arbitrarily detained, and their arrest was approved by judges in flawed court proceedings”

We demand the release of the detained men and a full investigation into the crimes carried out by Berkut officers on Nov 30 and Dec 1 as well as by the masked louts outside the president’s administration. This must establish who gave the command for Berkut to use excessive force and beat up peaceful demonstrators.  

You can sign the petition here:


Information about each of the men:

Bankova Prisoners: Anyone will do?

Bankova Prisoner: Valery Garagutz

Road Control journalist becomes latest "Bankova Prisoner"

Bankova Prisoner:  Oleksandr Ostashchenko

Bankova Prisoner: Yehor Previr

Bankova Prisoner: Yaroslav Prytulenko

Bankova Prisoner:  Serhiy Nuzhnenko

Bankova Prisoner: Yury Bolotov

Bankova Prisoner: Vladislav Zahorovko

Bankova Prisoner: Mykola Lazarevsky

Bankova Prisoner: Hennady Cherevko



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