• Topics / The right to a fair trial
• Topics / Freedom of peaceful assembly
Lawless continuation of criminal case against Tax Cade Protesters
Kievsnews reports a new lawless twist in one of the criminal investigations against Tax Code Protesters, this time against Serhiy Melnychenko, Head of the Board of the Coalition of Participants in the Orange Revolution. As reported here, he is accused of creating a criminal group which during the protests by small business owners at the end of last year allegedly caused damage to the state of more than 200 thousand UAH. (roughly 18 thousand Euro). Mr Melnychenko calls the actions of the police political repression.
On 31 March Serhiy Melnychenko arrived earlier than his lawyer at the Police Department in order to continue reading the file material against him and sign the corresponding protocol indicating that he was familiar with the material.
As he sat waiting, the investigator Yevhen Seperovych turned up and called him into his office. There he apparently demanded that Melnychenko sign the protocol saying that he had read the material. He responded with a rude refusal to Melnychenko’s request to be allowed to read the file material quietly in together with his lawyer.
Seperovych tried to force him to sign the protocol. He refused to do so without his lawyer being present and asked that Ms Mykhailenko be called to the office. Seperovych then left and returned with two men whom he called witnesses therefore to confirm the accused’s refusal to read the file material and sign the protocol. Melnychenko says that it was clear from their appearance that they were police officers.
He repeated his request to call the lawyer stressing that he had every intention of reading the file material and simply insisted that all was done in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code, and with the participation of his lawyer.
Apparently when Seperovych said that the lawyer was there, that she had been trying to contact Melnychenko but he didn’t answer, one of the two “witnesses” demurred about signing the protocol confirming Melnychenko’s “refusal” to read the material, suggesting that they call the lawyer.
The investigator responded that they had very little time and there was no need to engage in empty formalities. He ordered Melnychenko to leave and took him to the exit where they met his lawyer. Melnychenko stated that the lawyer was there, waiting to be called, that they could return and carry out the investigation actions properly. Seperovych simply pointed to the door and told them they could leave and there was nothing more for them to do.
Serhiy Melnychenko, one of the organizers of the protest on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] against the new Tax Code and his lawyer have only read 5 of the 10 volumes in the criminal proceedings against him over the alleged damage to the granite on the square. No damage to the granite has been established according to the method established by the Law.
The Investigator has done all he could to obstruct the Tax Code protesters and their lawyer from reading the file material properly and keeps trying to speed up the process, saying that he’s being pressured from those higher, and that he needs to finish the criminal investigation as quickly as possible.