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Opposition candidate arrested in Italy on extradition demand


Romanyuk and Zasukha (Photo: Ukrainska Pravda)

Viktor Romanyuk who recently stood for election to parliament from the opposition Batkivshchyna Party in the problematical single-mandate electoral district No. 94, has been arrested in Italy. He is understood to have been placed on the Interpol wanted list with the Ukrainian authorities demanding his extradition.

His wife informed Ukrainska Pravda that he had been taken from the hotel where he was staying, together with his wife. She was later released.

Romanyuk’s lawyer, Mykola Motruk has confirmed the arrest and says that the Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv issued an arrest warrant back on 4 February.

This is an extremely worrying development.

The election watchdog OPORA reported on 8 February that Viktor Romanyuk had been forced to leave Ukraine because of harassment.  The tax police had for several days been carrying out a check of the Mako limited liability company which he is a director of.

As reported earlier, Romanyuk has applied to the European Court of Human Rights over the decision by District Election Commission No. 94 to invalidate the voting at 27 polling stations on the application of the Party of the Regions candidate Tetyana Zasukha.  Romanyuk believes that this decision violated his right to free elections, Article 3 of the First Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.  Viktor Romanyuk had been clearly in the lead in Election District No. 94 (Obukhiv, Kyiv oblast), however a court allowed a number of suits from Party of the Regions candidate Tetyana Zasukha.

Another parliamentary candidate from a problematical election district is abroad as well. Arkady Kornatsky represented Batkivshchyna in No. 132.  He however left even before the elections. The accountant of his company has been behind bars since the summer of 2012.

Both of these two districts are among those in which the Central Election Commission has ordered new elections. 

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