Bankova Prisoner Yaroslav Prytulenko still in custody


   Yaroslav Prytulenko is one of 9 men arrested after being beaten by Berkut riot police during the Dec 1 events on Bankova St.  He remains in custody despite serious grounds for concerns about all the arrests, reflected in two Amnesty International urgent actions, and despite the “amnesty law” now in force.  

Prytulenko is 21, tall, fit and into extreme sports.  All of this probably resulted in his being only slightly injured when the Berkut riot police charged on Dec 1 after the young louts in masks around the president’s administration had already run off.  Eight other men, arrested like him, received greater injuries, some very serious.  

Despite injuries and total lack of evidence that any of the men were involved in the disturbances on Bankova St, all nine were remanded for 2 months during court hearings on Dec 3.  

There was considerable outcry and attention well beyond Ukraine, and the president. Viktor Yanukovych “suggested” that some of the men might be released from custody. 

Prytulenko, the youngest of the men and the least injured, was left in custody. 

As in all cases, there is no direct evidence of Prytulenko’s involvement in the disturbances.  The police allege that he showed resistance when being detained.  This he denies.  It should be noted that all video footage of the mayhem shows Berkut officers beating people at random, including people lying on the street showing no resistance.

The “evidence” against him appears to be that he was wearing protective clothing.  For a person who engages in extreme sports, this is not uncommon, and the video clips of those who clearly caused the trouble show young men in anoraks and masks.

  He also allegedly had a bottle with petrol; a shock pistol; and a knife in his backpack.  There were a huge number of procedural irregularities in the detention and it is disputed whether all those items were in the pack.  In either case, there was nothing illegal about possessing any of those items. 

Considerable pressure was put on all the nine Bankova Prisoners.  Two agreed to admit to guilt on a lesser charge, be fined a small amount and have all criminal charges withdrawn.  The others presumably all refused. 

There is no evidence that any of the 9 men committed any offence.  This includes Prytulenko. 


(Halya Coynash)

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