21.05.2000 | Roman Romanov, Sebastopol

Advocate’s arrest


We remind the readers that recently general-lieutenant of militia Vivat Beloborodov, the head of the Sebastopol Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, interrogated two 17-year-old youths. During the interrogation the general started shooting, having killed one and having gravely wounded another.

Valeriy Paliy, a well-known advocate, consented to grant free juridical aid to Andrey Shevchenko, the survival of the shooting match. Advocate Paliy was not shot on the spot.The procedure of his pacifying seems to be more complicated.

As the first step, on 13 February 1999 Leninskiy district court of Sebastopol issued a ruling, where Valeriy Paliy was found guilty in a crime stipulated by Article 185-3 of the Ukrainian code on administrative felonies (disrespect of court). The punishment was ten days of administrative arrest.

Meanwhile a criminal case was started against Andrey Shevchenko, who was accused of attacking a militia officer. The operative and detective activities were carried out by the city prosecutor’s office. At this time the culprit was treated in the city hospital No.1. His relatives were not allowed to see him by militia guards who guarded the ward. Somehow they did not prevent the investigating officer to interrogate the wounded at night without his advocate.

In the course of the court session that considered the case of Paliy it was convincingly proved that the bulk of the materials is falsified, among them the extract from the minutes of the court session where Paliy allegedly demonstrated disrespect to court. It also appeared that the case was not registered in the court office. Valeriy Paliy’s request to have an advocate of his own choice was not satisfied. The court seemed somewhat biased because judge Burchuladze considered the case till late night of 12 February and on the day off of 13 February, which is, perhaps, an unprecedented phenomenon for the Ukrainian judicial system.

Paliy was detained by militiamen at 21:11 hours on 11 February. According to the witnesses and Paliy himself, those who detained him referred to the order issued by general Beloborodov. During the trial Paliy requested to summon Beloborodov as a witness. The request was refused ‘as immaterial’. During two days Paliy was kept in the cooler of the district precinct (with seven other inmates — the cell’s the capacity is four). The detained advocate was kept without sleep and food. The latter is unimportant since Paliy went on hunger strike at the moment of his detainment. On 16 February his health deteriorated to such an extent that motor ambulance was summoned to help him four times. On 17 February Paliy’s advocates managed to meet their client. They insisted on medical expertise, and later Paliy was taken to the same ward of the city hospital, where some time before his client had been kept. The court ruling is still in force: having left the hospital, Paliy must be arrested for the remaining four days.

Paliy says that he has been warned that he will have ‘troubles’ with law-enforcing agencies. Sebastopol militia started to gather information against him without opening the operating file, thus violating the law on the ODA. Some top brass form Sebastopol militia phoned to the author of this note and asked for the information of all participants of the picket, which was organized by the Sebastopol human rights protection group. My refusal astonished the investigator.

Advocates of the city held a meeting where they unanimously condemned the actions of the Sebastopol militia and court. Many speakers gave examples from their own practice, when militia exerted pressure on the advocates in connection with their professional activities. The behavior of the local mass media is rather characteristic. They are silent about the events connected with Paliy’s arrest. In private conversations some newsmen say that Sebastopol advocates are too weak, and it is not worthwhile to quarrel with militia because of them. Others confess that they are afraid of militia and ask pay for the fear.

Now the Ukrainian militia is very active, purging the local authorities in the Crimea. They declare that they are capable of fighting efficiently with any forms of crime at any level. It would be grand if they could fight the crime within militia on the general’s level.

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