Kirovohrad AutoMaidan activist stripped of his license for 6 months
On Feb 12 judge Iryna Zahreba from the Kirovsk District Court in Kirovohrad prohibited AutoMaidan activst Vitaly Koval from driving for half a year in the latest of a number of template rulings throughout the country against peaceful protesters and civic activists. Koval was accused by traffic police inspector Ihor Lyulchenko of not stopping on the traffic officer’s demand. This falls under Article 22 of the code of administrative offences. Koval is also the head of a regional movement called "ДАІ не ДАЙ" [“Don’t give to the traffic police’].
Koval says that he had stopped to give way to a mini-van taxi coming towards him and miss the trolleybus and truck in front of him. Both he and his passenger, Liana Levytska interpreted the round motion with his stick made by Lyulchenko as acknowledgement of what Koval was doing, and telling him he could overtake the obstructing vehicles and continue. Lyulchenko claimed differently saying that he not only indicated to stop, but even used his whistle. He says that the reason for stopping Koval was that the latter was not wearing his seatbelt.
Both Koval and his passenger deny this, saying that they had their seatbelts on. There is also direct evidence in the form of the video register from the traffic officers’ car which shows Lyulchenko at the time in question talking on the telephone. Having made the disputed gesture with his stick, he turned away from the road, not showing any intention to walk to the place where he had allegedly indicated that the driver should stop.
As with numerous such cases since the AutoMaidan car rally to the president’s controversial residence at Mezhyhirya, none of the arguments made any impression on the court and Koval was stripped of his license for 6 months. This was the most severe sentence possible.
Koval believes that the court proceedings are revenge by the traffic police. He says that just before the case he and activists from “Don’t Give to the Traffic Police’ had uncovered a traffic police officer who knocked down an activist while under the influence of drugs. He does not give any other details but says that they are constantly uncovering violations. He plans to appeal against the court ruling.