Two Bankova Prisoners released
Protest on New Years Eve in support of the Bankova Prisoners still in custody
While excellent that Yaroslav Prytulenko and Volodymyr Kadura have been freed, Dzyndzya and Smaliy remain in custody, and the number of Hrushevsky St Prisoners is increasing. Those cases are no less dubious.
A court on Friday finally released Yaroslav Prytulenko and Volodymyr Kadura who have been in custody on extremely questionable charges over the disturbances on Bankova St on Dec 1 last year.
Ukrainska Pravda reports that the court passed a ruling decriminalizing the alleged actions of three protesters: Prytulenko, Kadura and Serhiy Nuzhnenko. The criminal proceedings against them have been terminated.
The judge cited one of the laws “adopted” during a scandalous parliamentary session on Jan 16. This made amendments to the amnesty law supposedly in force since Dec 25 but effectively blocked. The amendments proposed by Party of the Regions MP Serhiy Kivalov remove any liability for those officials and Berkut riot police officers believed implicated in violence against peaceful protesters (more details here:
The ruling on Jan 24 is, of course, welcome, and it seems likely that similar rulings will be passed in the cases of Valery Garagutz; Mykola Lazarevsky; Gennady Cherevko; Oleksandr Ostashchenko; Yevhen Previr; The charges must also be dropped, and fines reimbursed, in the cases of two other Bankova prisoners: Yury Bolotov and Vladislav Zahorovko.
Please see: Bankova Prisoners: Anyone will do? for information about shocking cases which prompted, among other reactions, two urgent actions from Amnesty International.
Optimism is muted, however, for three reasons.
The obvious political nature of the rulings: both the prosecutor and judge dropped objections because of highly controversial amendments made to the law which effectively frees from liability people in authority and law enforcement officers guilty of grave rights violations.
Two other men remain in custody: Andriy Dzyndzya, a Road Control journalist and his lawyer, Viktor Smaliy. The charges are no less absurd.
The third reason is that the same method of bringing charges against peaceful EuroMaidan activists is currently gaining pace over the confrontation on Hrushevsky St. Please see: First “Hrushevsky Prisoners” for more details, though the list of people detained, beaten by Berkut officers and facing dubious charges has now increased.