• Topics / Freedom of peaceful assembly
• Topics / Social and economic rights
• Topics / Law enforcement agencies
Chornobyl activists questioned all day, summoned for Saturday
The leader of the Kharkiv former Chornobyl clean-up workers, Vladimir Proskurin was released late on Friday evening from the Kharkiv Regional MID investigation unit. He says that he has to be back there at 9.00 on Saturday.
He was, moreover, released on a signed undertaking not to leave the city. The investigator did not explain whether his status has been changed. As reported, Mr Proskurin, as well as other activists, received a summons on Thursday for questioning as a witness in a criminal investigation. Despite the lack of any grounds, the police appeared at his home on Friday morning and took him to the investigation unit.
Vladimir Proskurin is convinced that the police actions are because certain people needed to make sure he did not take part in a crucial conference of the NGO Chornobyl Union of Ukraine. The authorities, he believes, want to make sure that the current chair, Yury Adnreyev whom many former Chornobyl clean-up workers accuse of betraying the Chornobyl workers’ movement becomes leader of the Union.
Mr Proskurin assumes that bringing him by force to the investigators was an attempt to discredit him as head of a civic organization. This, he says, was despite the fact that none of the documents shown him by the investigator suggest any infringements by him of the law.
Mr Proskurin adds that he had in fact prior to this approached MP Mykhailo Volynets (BYUT-Batkivshchyna) asking him to obtain the documents in Kyiv confirming that Vladimir Proskurin really did take part in the clean up operation following the Chornobyl Disaster. Volynets flew to Kharkiv and handed these documents to the investigator.
He considers that the police are being used by the authorities, and that “they’re carrying out an order from the very top” He noted that the head of the Party of the Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Aleksandr Yefremov recently stated that criminal proceedings needed to be initiated against some former Chornobyl clean-up workers (see Most demanding Chornobyl clean-up workers could face criminal prosecution).
The former Chornobyl clean-up workers who were standing vigil outside the MIA building all day are in no hurry to leave. Petro Prokopenko, who was forcibly returned to Kharkiv from the conference of the Chornobyl Union of Ukraine on Friday, is still with the investigators. So is MP Mykhailo Volynets who has promised, as have the other former Chornobyl clean-up workers, that he will not leave until Mr Prokopenko is released.