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Prominent civic activists jailed for five days


Yehor Sobolev (photo by Ihor Lutsenko)

Prominent journalists and civic activists Ihor Lutsenko and Yehor Sobolev have been jailed for 5 days over a peaceful, f unconventional, attempt to draw attention to the refusal to call new elections for Kyiv Mayor and City Council

Ukrainska Pravda reports that the Shevchenkivsk District Court in Kyiv has jailed prominent journalists and civic activists Ihor Lutsenko and Yehor Sobolev to 5 days imprisonment for what it deemed to be “persistently disobeying police orders”.

Four activists had protocols of administrative offences drawn up under the relevant Article 185 of the Code of Administrative Offences”, while the protocol for journalist and parliamentary candidate in the last elections, Tetyana Chornovol was under Article 173 (petty hooliganism).

On Friday the five “seized” the Kyiv City Council premises to draw attention to the lack of legitimacy of that body.  Four of them were detained, but Tetyana Chornovol climbed onto the cornice of the building where she remained for around 6 hours. She was therefore detained later.

The measures used to attract publicity were certainly unconventional however the situation with the Kyiv City Council also has no place in a democratic country.  The term of office of the present council deputies expired in April this year, but the ruling Party of the Regions has blocked attempts to schedule new elections since these would almost certainly bring in a Mayor and council makeup unfavourable to the President and government.  More details about judgments from the Constitutional Court and Kyiv District Administrative Court aimed at legitimizing the non-calling of elections in Adjustable Goalposts

In her blog on Ukrainska Pravda, Tetyana Chornovol asserts that in revenge for her actions on Friday, attempts have been underway on Saturday to provoke a pretext for bringing administrative charges against her husband, Mykola Berezovy, head of a city branch of the UDAR Party.  She believes that this, as well as a recent attempt to fabricate criminal charges against him,  is directed against her, with the authorities knowing the impact that jailing a woman activist will have.  


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