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11.12.2000 | A. Bukalov, Donetsk

Human rights protectors also need to have human rights

   

On the eve of the President’s election an advocate Sergey Salov was arrested in Donetsk. He became known after he brought a suit against the state about a deposit in a saving-bank that vanished after the perestroyka, and, after some difficulties, won the case. This time another history happened with him: an issue of the newspaper ’Golos Ukrainy’ was found in his apartment. Salov took this issue from his mailbox, and there was an announcement about the death of Leonid Kuchma in the newspaper. The issue turned out to be a fake. Although many people on these days got such faked newspapers, it was Salov who was blamed of the attempt to prevent citizens from the realization of their election rights. Probably, the main importance here had the fact that Salov was a representative of Aleksandr Moroz, another candidate to President’s post. For several months the advocate was kept in a preliminary prison as a dangerous criminal. In July he was condemned by the Kuybyshev district court of Donetsk to five years of incarceration and put on probation. On 15 September the oblast court approved the verdict.

Now Sergey Salov appealed against the oblast court verdict to the court chairman A. Kondratyev. The advocate is sure that he committed no crime. He said, that the description of his actions in the verdict verbally coincides with the corresponding article of the Administrative Code, and that the maximal punishment that can be applied to him is a fine. But this case has other, very unpleasant, consequences.

According to Article 2 of the Law on advocates, a person, condemned for a crime and whose verdict already came into effect, may not be an advocate. Article 17 of the same law reads that the qualifying-disciplinary commission can deprive an advocate of the right to carry out his professional activities. The commission of the Bar considered the question about the prohibition to Salov’s practice as an advocate. The condemned advocate asked the commission to give him some time for preparing an explanation, and the sitting was postponed to 22 November.

In spite of the absence of the final verdict of the commission, several days later Salov was not permitted to enter the courtroom of the Kuybyshev district court for the defense of his client. The judge, who headed the trial, explained that the trial was suspended until the legality of Salov’s authority would be confirmed.

Several years ago the author saw in London a picket of the ’Amnesty International’ workers in front of the office of this organization. The workers had to be fired in connection with the decreasing of financing and, accordingly, the staff reduction in the central office. The picketers carried the placards: ’Human rights protectors also need to have human rights!’ Salov’s case, it seems to me, is an evidence that Ukraine becomes closer to Europe.

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