Is Ukraine planning to extradite its own citizen?
Don’t go with your internal passport and don’t come back for one! Ukrainian national Viktor Kardash has run into a bizarre situation with potentially serious consequences.
All Ukrainian nationals moving abroad permanently have a note added to their internal passport (which each Ukrainian citizen has), that they have been removed from the registration records. The actual internal passport is removed and for some strange reason, but in accordance with a Ministry of Internal Affairs Order, destroyed.
Viktor Kardash, when moving to live in Belarus in 2002, was rash enough to honestly tell the authorities of his plans to stay in Belarus. As a law-abiding citizen he handed in his internal passport. No wonder therefore that having returned last spring to Ukraine and moved in with friends in Kyiv, he had no choice but to go back to the same registration office and ask them to return – or replace – his internal passport.
At first there seemed no problem and the officials promised to help. However the first obstacle proved to be the lack of a lack to register at since Viktor Kardash no longer has his own flat, and there are already a lot of people registered at the place he is staying.
This continued for almost a year with Viktor traipsing from one office to another, hearing endless words of sympathy and advice on resolving the problem, through fictitious marriage, etc. Then at the end of February he began getting what then seemed like positive signals from the officials about a swift end to his trials. It came.
On 2 April Viktor Kardash arrived at the relevant registration office for the promised documents. A nice lady with lieutenant’s stripes invited him to leave the queue and wait in her office. Soon some hefty guys in leather jackets appeared to have a talk with Viktor. They turned out to be Criminal Investigation Department officers who, admittedly, in a friendly manner, extracted a commitment to surrender to the Belarusian authorities. If he is unable to get an internal passport immediately, a possible variant would be enforced deportation (extradition).
And the main thing is that he should not under any circumstances turn up at the Kyiv visa and registration department for his passport.
On 16 April a representative of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union [UHHRU] spoke with Ihor Morynets, the Head of the Department for Citizenship and Migration, and Registration of Individuals of the Central Department of the MIA. The latter promised that Viktor Kardash’s problem would be resolved within 10 days. However to this day he has not received his internal passport.
Mr Mormynets said that the reason for the delay was some kind of document from the MIA. Yet what this document is and from who appears to be kept top secret. Questions to ascertain this information have encountered the answer: “You’re asking incorrect questions. Do you understand that?”
UHHRU fully shares Viktor Kardash’s concern over the year-long delay in providing him with an internal passport and the secrecy, and fear the preparation, together with the Belarusian authorities, for his illegal extradition.
UHHRU will be following this situation due to the effective refusal to issue Viktor Kardash with an internal passport, and would warn officials of the MIA against any threats and intimidation and would remind them that the extradition of Ukrainian nationals to a third country is unacceptable for any reason or on any grounds.
Ukraine has already sent people who had refugee or asylum-seeker status to countries where they could be in danger. Are the authorities seriously thinking of sending a Ukrainian national back to a country where he faces persecution?
Based on a text by Oleh Lewycky and Marina Hovorukhina