war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Political Persecutions



Even before Yevromaidan, during 2013, the human rights organizations documented numerous cases of politically motivated persecution of the representatives of civil society, the objects of which were human rights activists, journalists, public activists, and lawyers. In the arsenal of such persecutions there were both the use of legal procedures (initiation of criminal and administrative cases on the basis of falsification of evidence, incriminated offense or in the absence of an event or of an offense or presence of an offense committed by another person) and extralegal harassment in order in the form of pressure, threats and assault and battery of people.

 According to the Guide[2], the “political reasons” include real reasons of unacceptable in a democratic society actions or inaction of law enforcement or judicial authorities, other government entities that aim to achieve at least one of the following:

   1) strengthening or retention of power by government agencies;

   2) involuntary termination or change in the nature of public activities of a person.

The following briefly describes some of the forms of harassment the most illustrative examples of which occurred in 2013. Many illegal actions were commit by the militia, such as destroying equipment of journalist Natalia Barbarosh, search in the apartment of journalist Anatoly Lazarenko, beating a member of the Vilnyi Prostir NGO Roman and Nazar Oleksevych, obstructing the viewing of the film-almanac “Open Access” in the regions and so on.

In May-July 2013 investigators of Brovary and Boryspil regional militia stations repeatedly called and visited public activists Maxym and Kostiantyn Latsyba at home and in connection with the instigation of criminal proceedings against car robbers. Allegedly the law enforcers had the video at their disposal where the car was registered driven by the robbers from the place robbery the license plates of which were similar to the license plates of the car, which belonged to Maxym Latsyba. This attention of the militiamen to the car of public activists may be explained by the fact that this car was present at the protest action in Mezhyhirya, after which exerting pressure on its participants began.

   Another example: the court ruling on administrative arrest for violation of peaceful assembly rules by Vasyl Liubarets, organizer of the Vradiyivka march, which began after the rape of 29 -year-old female by militia officers. Before this, on June 18, 2013 the rally on Independence Square was illegally dispersed by the law enforcers.

   From the same series: imposition of administrative penalty of five days in jail on the participants of action on August 16, 2013 protesting against the illegitimacy of Kyiv City Rada. The administrative protocols were drawn up on four activists under art. 185 of CUAV (“Persistent disobedience to a lawful order or requirement of a militia officer”) and the journalist (protocol under art. 173 of CUAV “Disorderly conduct”).

   Before Yevromaidan there was a common practice of unlawful restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly by law enforcers. There were documented cases of involvement of law enforcement officers without uniform, in uniform without proper insignia, interference in order to prevent participation in peaceful assemblies, favoring one side during peaceful assemblies, inactivity when conflicts arise in the course of peaceful assembly, arbitrary termination of peaceful assembly and detaining protesters, excessive use of force and special means against participants, and prosecution of peaceful assembly participants after the event.

   This category includes the cases of Denys Levin about bringing to administrative responsibility for violation of the rules of conducting peaceful gatherings, arrest of artist Davyd Chichkan and Olexandr Burlaka for their action against clericalism in Ukraine near the Art Arsenal, selective removal passengers from the train to Kyiv who intended to take part in the opposition rally in May 2013 and so on.

   For example, on July 27, 2013, three activists of the women's movement Femen and journalist Dmytro Kostiukov were going out of doors to carry out a protest downtown. In the yard they were attacked by people in civilian clothes, knocked to the ground and booted. Then militia vehicles pulled up. The girls with the journalist were taken to the district station. The flash drives with footage were confiscated. After a while they called an ambulance, which provided first aid to the victims, and Dmytro had his broken forehead stitched up.

   Instead, the militia accused the journalist of willful disobedience to militia officers, and the women were accused of disorderly conduct: according to militiamen, the girls walked naked along the streets of Obolon District of Kyiv. The court found all participants guilty; Dmytro Kostiukov was fined.

   Taking into account the increased incidence of beatings and harassment of individuals engaged in social activities of particular concern is the inaction of law enforcement agencies both in the course of such offenses, and in the course of an investigation intended to determine the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

   This is evident in the lack of results on the complaint of TSN correspondent of the channel “1 +1” Serhiy Halchenko concerning his being shadowed, lack of adequate response to complaints of journalist Serhiy Levitanenko about death threats from people's deputy of the Party of Regions, attack made on the Head of the Public Committee “Against Development on Serafimovich Street” Andriy Nakonechny, beating of several activists of the “Hospitable Republic” and so on.

   The most telling case that demonstrates the criminal inaction of law enforcement agencies was the notorious beating of Channel 5 journalist Olga Snitsarchuk and photographer of Kommersant-Ukraine Vlad Sodel. So, on May 18, 2013, in Kyiv, they both came to undertake their professional journalistic activities in the course of the opposition rally. Near the site of the meeting, namely, near the MIA main administrative building they tried to shoot how unknown sportive guys beat the representatives of All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda”.

   Although there was a cordon of militia officers, the unknown sportive youngsters in tracksuits rushed to journalists, knocked them to the ground and began booting. Despite the appeal of journalists to militia with request to protect them, the latter did not mind beating.

   The court's decision on punishment of culprits who had beaten journalists was rather an exception that was caused by mass protests across the country.

   The inaction of law enforcement authorities investigating the beating and pressure on individuals engaged in public activities in the terms of assault and battery of activists of the “road control” is conspicuous.

   Thus, on July 21, 2013, in Donetsk, two unidentified persons beat the activist of “Road control” Oleg Bohdanov at the entrance of his house. Later the doctors diagnosed the closed head injury, brain concussion, broken nose and jaw bones. Upon beating the criminal proceedings were instigated under part 2 of art. 296 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed by a group of people).

Six months before that, on November 1, 2012 Oleg Bogdanov’s car was burned. Based on this incident the militia opened a criminal case under part 2 of art.194 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (deliberate arson), and for the moment the crime is not solved. Oleg Bogdanov’s mobile phone received many sms threats.

   In 2013, there were reported cases of harassment of independent lawyers. In July 2013 the qualification and disciplinary commission examined cases of 15 lawyers, 20 lawyers were brought to book according to the court's ruling. In particular, we can provide a concrete example: on April 17, 2013, the qualification and disciplinary commission of the Bar brought to book lawyer Mykola Siryi based on the lawyer’s assessment of the new CPC of Ukraine. In this case, they issued a warning for his violation of the Regulation of legal ethics despite the fact that the lawyer made his comments four days prior to the adoption of this Regulation.

   In 2013, a wide response was drawn by a new form of persecution: forced treatment in a psychiatric hospital. The judicial decision concerning the activist who struggled against the illegal building in Zaporizhzhia, Rayisa Radchenko, was based on alleged appeal of janitors and restaurant staff with complaints against her inappropriate behavior. Confirming the diagnosis the psychiatrists referred to the history of the disease, which was not exhibited in court. The court refused to conduct an independent examination in Kyiv. More than two weeks the activist spent in a psychiatric hospital and was released only after a public outcry and the active intervention of the Ombudsman.

   The refusal of the leadership of the state on November 21 to sign an association agreement with the EU generated opposition across the country, which, after horrific beating of about 300 protesters on Independence Square in the small hours on November 30, triggered serious disorders. That beating, no doubt, had political motives (e.g., termination of protests against government policy) and all its victims should be recognized as victims of political persecution. Some of them united to create the group “November 30” and initiated criminal proceedings against “Berkut” as aggrieved persons.

   Up to January 18 the protests were peaceful, but they did not cause any reaction of the top administration apart from the new persecutions for political reasons: ban on rallies, administrative harassment of activists, beating Yevromaidan activists and journalists, including Tetiana Chornovol on whose life they made an attempt, burning of cars and more. Consideration of political persecution and other human rights violations during the events of Yevromaidan will be made ​​in the report covering the events of 2014.

   Special attention should be paid to the cases of people who were imprisoned throughout 2013 or for a certain period only, which with a high probability fall within the criteria of the Guide to the definition of the term "political prisoner". This list is not meant to be exhaustive covering 12 cases in which 39 activists were imprisoned. Seventeen of them were detained for taking part in the events of Yevromaidan. 

   1. The case of Yuri Kosarev, advocate of wage workers

In the evening of May 22, 2011 in the village Volnukhino the Kosarevs together with their friends Serhiy Ihnatyev and his wife Iryna grilled shish kebabs in the court of the house which belonged to Yuri Kosarev, member of the NGO “Luhansk Human Rights Group”.

   Previously, as part of his job responsibilities, on May 5, 2011 Yuri Kosarev wrote complaints to various instances of violation of labor and environmental laws by the management of JSC “Uspensky Karyer”.

   The black jeep (license plate BB 1122 BX) drove up to the house, three men stepped out of it. After talking with them, Kosarev Yuri said that they were the managers of JSC “Uspensky Karyer” which required him to stop his activity (stir up trouble among workers) and threatened him that he was heading for trouble.

   After a while two cars drove up to the house: the previous jeep and white Zhyhuli, from which three men in militia uniform stepped out. His wife, Iryna Kosarev argues that one of them, approaching them, was holding a pistol in his outstretched hand.

   “They wanted to apprehend Yuri, but he disagreed and demanded a writ to be shown, because the next day, May 23, in the morning, the investigation had to take place in the Lutuhino prosecutor's office based on the illegal activities of “Uspensky Karyer”. Yuri offered them to meet in the morning and find out everything in Lutuhino. Then one of the militiamen spoke on the phone: “Shall I clip the mother-fucker?” Iryna Kosarev told us. This scene was filmed and uploaded to the site “Luhansk. Media style”.

   Then the militiamen knocked Yu.Kosarev down, handcuffed him and started booting him. Two men from the jeep participated in the beating (Haponenko Olexandr Olexandrovych and his bodyguard Andriyevskiy N.V.). S.Ihnatov stuck up for Yu.Kosarev.

   From the application of Yu.Kosarev to the European Court of Human Rights: “They refused to show documents; I told them that in case of refusal to provide documents confirming that they were militia officers and had the appropriate order of the court, I am entitled under existing law to keep them out of the territory of my estate and defend my property in case of illegal penetration. Instead, they entered my estate illegally, knocked me to the ground, handcuffed and began beating with their hands and feet”.

   Yuri Kosarev, Serhiy Ihnatov and his wife Iryna were arrested and taken to Lutuhino prosecutor’s office, Iryna Kosarev escaped. Upon her return to Luhansk she put in an application to Luhansk Oblast Prosecutor’s Office.

   From the complaint put in to the prosecutor’s office by witness Iryna Bimbat: “I was brought to Lutuhino prosecutor’s office. Then I, Kosarev, Ihnatov, militiamen Melnikov and two his partners were taken to Lutuhino hospital for medical examination. There I saw Yuri Kosarev. He had visible injuries on his face: external bruises, bumps. He complained of pain in the ribs. I did not see any visible injuries or damage in people in militia uniform. I overheard one of the militiamen chiding his friend: the examination detected alcohol in his blood. Then this militia officer was excluded from the list of victims who were allegedly beaten by Ihnatov and Kosarev”.

   From the recourse of Serhiy Ihnatov to the European Court of Human Rights: “Without my consent I was taken to the Lutuhino District Militia Department of the MIA-of-Ukraine Department in Luhansk Oblast. Kosarev Yuri repeatedly called for ambulance. He had visible traces of beatings, he complained that he had a headache and broken ribs”. In his application to the European Court of Human Rights Yuri Kosarev maintains that health workers were not allowed to see him. He said that militiamen feared that the traces of beatings remained on his body.

   On May 22, 2011 the Lutuhino Regional Department of the MIA of Ukraine received three calls with complaints of bullying on the part of Yuri Kosarev. Two criminal cases were initiated against him: for resisting militia and threats or violence against a law enforcer.

   Head of the Public Relations Center of the Department of MIA of Ukraine in Luhansk Oblast Tetiana Pohukay made a formal statement that Yuri Kosarev intentionally uploaded this advantageous clip. “Why does not this clip show how he and his friends attacked the militiamen and beat them?” Also Tetiana Pohukay suggested that Yuri Kosarev attacked law enforcers because he was drunk. “He himself provoked this conflict. Even his clip shows with a shovel,” she said.

   The response no. 6/6-2984 of June 21, 2011, signed by Yu.S. Kazan, Deputy Chief of Personnel Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine to the written request of D. Snehirov, President of CF “Support of Ukrainian Initiatives” reads: “… The information uploaded to the site “Luhansk. Media Style” in the article “Shall I clip the mother-fucker?” the Luhansk militia  is accused of executing the order of bandits which is partially confirmed by the fact of rough and tactless behavior on the part of some law enforcers from Lutuhino Regional Station during their conversation with Kosarev Yu.M., for which they were disciplined. The validity check materials were submitted to the Lutuhino Regional Prosecutor's Office for a decision in accordance with the laws of Ukraine”.

However, the response maintains that the checkup found that Yuri Kosarev threatened N.V. Andrievsky with physical violence. According to the document, Yu.Kosarev and S.Ihnatyev “resisted and caused moderate and moderately severe injuries” to militia officers. The response mentions the names of not three, but two militia officers: Potapina O.H. and  Melnikov and O.S.

   Iryna Imbat told about pressure exerted on her as a witness. “I was questioned by investigating prosecutor Miller S.V. He said that he was paid $3,000 by the quarry owner to jail Kosarev. And if I do not say that Kosarev attacked the militia, he will jail me as well for five years for assaulting militia officers”.

   On June 9 in Lutuhino court the preliminary hearings in the case of Yuri Kosarev and Serhiy Ihnatov were held, which ended in guilty verdict. At the time of preliminary hearing both accused were in the prison hospital (Yu.Kosarev after exhaustion as a result of hunger strike, S.Ihnatyev underwent surgery). The observers from “Luhansk Human Rights Group”—Andriy Vasylenko, Assistant of Deputy Anatoly Yahoferov, and Iryna Oleinikova, human rights activist-- were not allowed at the hearing.

   According to Iryna Kosarev, O.Melnykov and O.Potapin, militia men from the Lutuhino Regional Station of the MIA of Ukraine, went to the office of the judge. They were followed by the representative of the Lutuhino prosecutor’s office. The official observers kept waiting for the start of the trial for several hours. Subsequently, the Judge Vasyl Shpychko informed them that the hearing had just ended and the sentence was passed.

   During the hearing the prisoners at the bar planned to file a motion to change the preventive measure and to hear new witnesses in the case, but they had no such possibility in view of the conduct of the hearing in their absence. Iryna Kosarev filed a complaint against the judge.

  The Luhansk Oblast Prosecutor's Office in its response to an information request states that as a result of the investigation by the prosecutor the verdict of guilty for Yu.Kosarev and S.Ihnatyev is confirmed and the case is referred to the court for consideration on the merits. At the same time, the response stated that after reviewing the application of Yu.Kosarev about beating him by law enforcers, the Lutuhino Department of the MIA and Prosecutor's Office denied prosecution against the militiamen. Subsequently the Artemivsk District Court of Luhansk recognized that the prosecutors' decision not to institute criminal proceedings against the law enforcers of the Lutuhino Regional Militia Department was illegal.

   Yu.Kosarev and S.Ihnatyev applied to the European Court of Human Rights. In September 2012, the Lutuhino Militia Department decided to remit the case for further investigation. At the same time, at the prosecutor’s request the Appellate Court of Luhansk Oblast early in 2013 reversed the ruling of the court of first instance and remanded the case for reconsideration of the court with the new composition of the court, which took more than six months to define. The new hearing in the Slovyanoserbsk District Court began on April 25, 2013, at which the second defendant Serhiy Ihnatov was released from custody in the courtroom after eighteen-month stay in the investigative isolation ward.

   At the end of 2013 the trial of criminal case continued.

     2. Case of “Vasylkiv terrorists” Igor Mosiychuk, Serhiy Bevza, and Volodymyr Shpara

   On August 22, 2011 the SSU raided the office of Public Utility Company “Vasylkiv Public Utility Center”, where two activists of Patriot Ukrayiny Organization worked. They seized more than two dozen CDs, a number of leaflets, computers, and an improvised explosive device. One of the removed leaflets dealt with the takedown of the monument to Lenin in Boryspil and contained threat of physical violence against President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. The activists denied their privity to this postcard and the seized explosive device. Upon arrival to the room of Deputy of the Vasylkiv City Rada Serhiy Bevza and co-founder of Taras Shukhevych Sports Society Solovey Vitaly Zatelepa all four persons were arrested. On that same day Volodymyr Shpara, Commander of Vasylkiv Cell of Patriot Ukrayiny Organization was arrested as well.

   During the interrogations, which lasted all night long, the lawyers were not admitted. In the morning all detainees were released without arraignment. All questioned persons claimed that they were submitted to physical and psychological pressure.

   On August 23, 2011 eight people were arrested: Igor Mosiychuk, Serhiy Bevz, Volodymyr Shpara, Olexiy Cherneha, Maxym Bondarenko, Yuri Boiko, Vitaly Telepa, and Viktor Pukhtiy. A little later, Olexandr Krykunov, lawyer of Vasylkiv City Rada, was detained. Between two days of August 23 and 24, 2011 the secret service agents searched the apartments of those arrested; in I.Mosiychuk’s apartment they confiscated eight live pistol cartridges, and in the apartment of V.Shpara a pistol, TNT block and a bag with an unknown white powder. Both detainees declared that they had nothing to do with the confiscated items. In S.Bevza’s apartment the searchers in the presence of journalists and social activists confiscated a gas canister and “a knife, allegedly cold weapon”.

   On August 26, 2011 the Solomyanka District Court of Kyiv held its session to choose the preventive measure. Despite the declaration of willingness of three people’s deputies (Andriy Parubiy, Andriy Pavlovsky and Ivan Zayets), entire Vasylkiv City Rada and Vasylkiv Mayor Serhiy Ivashchenko to take the detainees on bail, Igor Mosiychuk, Serhiy Bevz and Volodymyr Shpara were condemned to two months of keeping in custody. Olexandr Krykunov, who was discharged on recognizance not to leave and showed reporters the marks of beatings, was arrested again and later discharged only after his refusal to appeal about documenting the marks of beatings. No decision was taken about Olexiy Cherneha and Vitaly Zatelepa; other detainees were announced witnesses.

   This was followed by exertion of pressure on certain leaders of the organization. Thus, in Lutsk the head of the local branch and two men were arrested at the walls of the local SSU when trying to hand in their appeal requiring releasing of detainees. In Luhansk, the leader of the local branch was arrested for “offenses committed previously”. Nevertheless, in many cities across the country the rallies were held in protest against the illegal detention.

   The Solomyanka District Court of Kyiv twice (on October 18 and December 16, 2011) extended the term of keeping the detainees behind the bars.

   On September 2, 2011 Olexiy Cherneha, recently detained and recognized witness in the case of “Vasylkiv terrorists”, announced his open video message to President Viktor Yanukovych. In his address he said that after being detained on August 23, he was interrogated for four days without a break and without sleep and food in the Kyiv Oblast SSU as he was forced to give false evidence against Volodymyr Shpara, Serhiy Bevz and Igor Mosiychuk. On the night of August 27 O.Cherneha was forced to sign consent to become a secret informer of the SSU and a letter to the Head of the SSU, which confirmed the voluntary nature of this consent and the non-use of physical restraint techniques. In view of the above facts O.Cherneha said that he renounced all his previous testimonies and to prevent further pressure will have to lie in hiding.

   Another witness, Yuri Boiko, also renounced his previous testimonies and wrote the relevant application to the Prosecutor General’s Office. SSU operative Dmytro Yermakovych appointed him an informal meeting during which he expressed his indignation Boiko’s renouncement of previous testimony, though he acknowledged the physical and psychological pressure on witnesses and falsification of the whole case. This meeting was secretly filmed and later publicized by TVI Channel reporters (in the course of hearing on March 19, 2012 the Court accused the channel of exerting pressure on the investigation).

   On February 9, 2012 Maxym Bondarenko, another witness, renounced his testimony and also filed his application to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

   During the investigation Volodymyr Shpara was asked to acknowledge that he had something to do with the bag with an unknown white powder found in his apartment during the search, otherwise his wife would be convicted of drug possession. V.Shpara refused the offer and through his lawyers disclosed this fact in the media.

   On January 4, 2012 the Kyiv-Sviatoshyn District Court began its consideration on the merits of the case of “Vasylkiv terrorists”. Igor Mosiychuk, Serhiy Bevz and Volodymyr Shpara were charged with preparing a terrorist attack, public calls for the overthrow of the constitutional order by force, and illegal handling of weapons and explosives.

   On January 23, 2012 on the eve of the next court hearing the attempt was made to illegally take “Vasylkiv terrorists” off the Lukyanivka investigatory isolation ward, but due to the information of the accused publicized in the press this attempt failed.

   During the trial presided over by Judge Yuri Burbela a number of grave violations of the right to protection by the presiding and unreasonable delay of the process were recorded. Groundlessness of existence of the case is confirmed by the fact that the monument to Lenin in Boryspil, Kyiv Oblast, which allegedly the “Vasylkiv terrorists” tried to blow up, had been removed long before by the local authorities.

   As of November 2013 the trial of this criminal case continued.

   3. Case of “industrial spies” Olexiy Rud, Serhiy Chychotka, and Volodymyr Chumakov

   In 2008 Professor Volodymyr Chumakov, Head of a chair at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics (KNURE) was approached by his former student Olexiy Rud who proposed to invest into research work of the scientist. Olexiy Rud worked with a Chinese firm that took interest in the old works of the Professor, namely his scientific work “Protection—B”, which described the work of railotron apparatus. At that time, the principle of operation of railotron was in the public domain in the internet.

The agreement on scientific and technical cooperation between the Sinoninvest Co. and the university was drawn up and signed; this agreement was approved by the vice-chancellor for scientific work. Under the agreement Volodymyr Chumakov had to prepare a rated-capacity-and-explanatory note on the possibility of implementing an electrodynamic mass accelerator with specific parameters. The professor performed necessary calculations using the material to his own teaching guide based on his publications and reference books on the subject of research that is publicly available in scientific periodicals and monographs.

   Then Volodymyr Chumakov was visited by SSU agents who said that the foreign investor is a resident of the Chinese secret service. They instructed the scientists to confidentially inform the Chinese representative at the office of Sinoninvest Co. that the planned co-work contains state secrets of Ukraine, which the latter did not respond to.

   In the fall 2009, Volodymyr Chumakov was invited to a meeting with the Head of the Kharkiv Oblast Department of the SSU, who asked the scientist to make an appointment with the Chinese representative and give him the folder containing the allegedly secret materials of the project. The Chinese representative had to be arrested at the time of handing the folder. Volodymyr Chumakov refused to do so and changed his job moving to Sevastopol. There he was repeatedly visited by the SSU agents who maintained that Olexiy Rud and Serhiy Chychotka, head of the firm “Top Science Ukraine” (the new name of Sinoninvest Co.), are spies and tried to persuade professor to give evidence against them.

   On August 9, 2012 Professor Volodymyr Chumakov was charged with treason in the form of spying for China. According to the expertise of the Kharkiv Physico-Technical Institute, the textbook “Pulsed processes and systems”, on which this professor’s study is based, has no scientific value, because it contains the well-known facts that are in the public domain. Furthermore the user has the act of expert examination by the Committee of Naval Academy, which gave permission for the publication.

   However, the investigation finds that Honored Worker of Science and Technique of Ukraine Volodymyr Chumakov has committed treason, namely, published in 2012 a guide for students “Pulsed processes and systems” and uploaded it for free online access. The textbook has been removed from libraries because of certain paragraphs, which constitute state secret as it was found a year after the release of the manual and the university course taught on its basis to students.

   In early January 2012 Serhiy Chychotka was arrested. Olexiy Rud was arrested in April 2012. They were accused of treason in the form of spying for China. Two famous Kharkivites vouched for Professor Chumakov which saved him from detention in investigatory ward. At the end of 2013 the consideration of the two criminal cases was still underway. The answer to the query of the National Academy of Sciences came signed by Vice-President of the NAS of Ukraine Volodymyr Horbulin maintaining that the monograph of Chumakov could not contain secret information as it was based entirely on open sources. The previous national expert on state secrets of the Ministry of Defense removed the security classification from all sections of the Chumakov’s manual after which the guide reappeared online. The court is awaiting the results of the sixth review now. And Chychotka and Rud are still kept in the investigatory isolation ward.

   4. Case of the participant of Linguistic Maidan Vitaly Hruzynov

   Vitaly Hruzynov was arrested on August 27, 2012 in connection with instigation of the criminal case for resisting militia and infliction of bodily harm during the protest against the adoption of “language law”, which was held under the Ukrainian House in July 2012.

   He was arrested right on the premises of Shevchenkivsky Court of Kyiv, which considered a criminal case about damaged tiles on Independence Square during the protest against the adoption of the Tax Code in November-December 2010 (known as the “Tax Maidan”). Vitaly is one of the defendants in this case.

   According to investigators, Vitaly seemingly snatched helmet from the soldier of BARS special unit, which caused minor injuries (bruises). Vitaly Hruzynov did not admit his guilt. On the video clip added to the case the witnesses, including militia officers, did not identify Vitaliy.

   On August 30, 2012 Natalia Cherednychenko, judge of Holosiyiv Court decided to keep Vitaly for 2 months in the Lukyanivka Investigatory Isolation Ward, Kyiv, where he spent 2.5 months. Then the court changed the preventive measure for the recognizance not to leave.

   On October 1, 2013 at a regular meeting in the Podil District Court of Kyiv the prosecutor introduced a resolution to change the charge and cleared him from the charge of inflicting bodily harm to the law enforcer.

   On October 17, 2013 Judge Vasyl Borodiy sentenced Vitaly Hruzynov to two years of restriction of liberty on probation for one year.

   5. Case of Vitaly Prymenko

   On September 26, 2011 director of a local enterprise turned to the Slovyansk City Department of militia and told that at 10.20 her driver and part-time security guard found under her car parked on the opposite side of the administrative building a suspicious purse. From this purse wires were sticking out. The guard picked up the finding and cast it aside. The explosion thundered and as a result the façade of the building and three window openings were damaged. No one was injured.

   In this incident the militia commenced an action on hooliganism committed with the use of explosive device and illegal possession of explosives and weapons. On September 28, 2011 on suspicion of the crime they arrested Vitaly Prymenko, founder of Tryzub Branch in the Donetsk Oblast, which has been ever since kept in custody.

   The day before the explosion Vitaly Prymenko stayed with his mother in Siversk, Donetsk Oblast, and on the morning of September 26, 2011 he came to see his friend in Slovyansk. From there he went to the Village of Auli, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, where he was arrested.

The investigators believe that the motive for the crime committed in Slovyansk was the desire to provide a friendly service to a guy who was a former husband of the businesswoman. The main evidence against the accused is his avowal made at the beginning of the investigation. Vitaly argues that he did it under threats to the health of his wife and mother.

   Earlier, on January 22, 2011 they searched the apartment of Vitaly Prymenko in Kyiv in connection with the blasted monument to Stalin in Zaporizhzhia.

   On April 26, 2013 the Slovyansk City Court of Donetsk Oblast presided over by judge Profatylo sentenced Vitaliy to six years and six months of imprisonment.

    6. Case of stencillers with the “shot-through Yanukovych”: Volodymyr Nykonenko, Olexandr Kirnos

   On January 14, 2013 Volodymyr Nykonenko was sentenced by the Zarechny Court to one year of restriction of liberty under article 296 of the Criminal Code (“Hooliganism”). In the framework of the same case, the court sentenced to various terms of imprisonment three more young men: I.Hannenko, D.Danylov and M.Pysartsov. In December 2010, these three youngsters threw plastic bag with a light brown paint the façade of Sumy Jewish Charity Center “Hesed Haim”. In April 2011, the same guys threw glass containers with black paint at the façade of the building. On August 29, 2011 Hannenko with his friend wrote HOME! and painted swastika on nearby hostel wall for foreign students. After that they broke the window, set fire to a smoke bomb and threw it into the dorm room where there were three students from Nigeria. The ensuing conflagration burned furniture, beds and other property of the University of Sumy, personal belongings and money of students. On his way home Hannenko painted inscriptions on the pavement and walls of buildings: “NON-WHITES GO HOME, NS-WP.WS”, “BLACK SHIT GO HOME NS-WP.WS”. So these people cannot be considered political prisoners.

   Volodymyr Nykonenko was accused of making graffiti featuring a man similar not unlike President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych with spots on his forehead, as if a bullet wound. In court, Volodymyr Nykonenko confirmed that graffiti in Sumy was drawn by him, but refused to recognize this as an act for which the law stipulates criminal liability. In the verdict, there is not a word about Yanukovych. The case in question is about a depicted person, “which arouses sympathy, because he is wounded”. Meanwhile Nykonenko said that the spot on the man’s forehead on the picture is a Krishna’s sign.

   The crimes committed by young men listed by the prosecution do not include the scandalous graffiti. The defense called the verdict politically motivated.

   On March 28, 2013 the Appellate Court of the Sumy Oblast presided over by Mykola Honcharov dismissed the complaint of defense and upheld the verdict. On the other hand, the judges rejected the appeal of the prosecutor, who demanded stricter sentence for the author of graffiti.

   In solidarity the like pictures appeared in Kyiv, Odesa, Sumy, Sevastopol, Lviv, Mykolayiv as well as in Brovary, Kyiv Oblast, and Kryvyi Rih. The solidarity actions took place in Sumy, Kharkiv, Rivne, Kyiv and other cities.

   Later People’s Deputy Serhiy Pashynsky said that he learned from the media that Nykonenko appealed to people asking to hire him, because the job placement would allow him to go at large in August. The People’s Deputy asked to consider his statement as an “official offer of employment”.

   Volodymyr stayed in Konotop penal institution from April 12 till August 2013.

   On June 25, 2013, in Sevastopol, in the evening on the Omega beach Olexandr Kirnos and his friends were attacked by a group of unknown persons with developed muscles of the body and beat guys. One of the boys had his ribs broken, teeth knocked out, nose broken and kidneys injured. Olexandr was knocked to the ground and dragged along the ground behind the trading tent. Then he was handcuffed and driven away to an unknown destination.

   Olexandr Kirnos spent two days at the local militia station; the lawyer was not allowed to see him because the investigator was not there on the weekend.

   Meanwhile the Public Relations Sector of the MIA of Ukraine in Sevastopol informs that Olexandr has been arrested during the militia operation “Migrant Laborer”. According to them, the law enforcement officials took notice of the young man, who began fleeing. After arrest the law enforcers confiscated his knife and a gun.

   An action was commenced against Olexandr for illegal possession of a firearm and vandalism (graffiti). Olexandr argues that they planted the gun. The Court decided on 60-day detention as preventive measure.

   Olexandr Kirnos claims that earlier the law enforcers came to him and threatened with death if he continued painting stencils with “wounded Yanukovych”.

   7. Case of Brovary Park defenders: Mykola Smirnov, Ruslan Tkachenko, Oleg Shevchuk

   On May 25, 2013 the activists of Brovary branches of political parties held a rally for pulling down the illegally erected building fence that fenced off a part of the park. During the fight initiated by unidentified musclemen the militiamen arrested Mykola Smirnov and Ruslan Tkachenko. And the attacking youngsters, including the one who beat journalist Andriy Kaczor during the protest, were not arrested.

   Mykola Smirnov and Ruslan Tkachenko were charged with hooliganism committed by a group of persons. The judge in the case of Tetiana Mikhiyenkova referring to the request of investigators of the Investigatory Department of Brovary City Station of the Main Office of the MIA of Ukraine in Kyiv Oblast in coordination with the prosecutor of the Brovary Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office of the Kyiv Oblast said that during the rally each activist “seriously violated public order accompanied by the most outrageous insolence which took the form of calling other participants of the meeting to tear down the fence around the land leased to the private enterprise “Fesco” on the territory of the park Peremoha in the city of Brovary and rushed one of the first through the militia cordon to tear down the wooden fence and damaged a part of the said fence kicking and breaking with their hands the fence thereby provoking the rest of the participants of the rally to follow them”.

As evidence of the offense committed by Smirnov and Tkachenko the court ruling contained the attestations of Bondar V.V., Aksenin V.S. and Dobash M.O.  According to the suspects, the first two are ordinary construction workers of the PE “Fesco” while Dobash is a trainee at Brovary militia. According to Roman Simutin, former trial lawyer in the case of Smirnov and Tkachenko, all three may not appear as witnesses, because they are biased or interested parties.

   It should be noted that witness Bondar says that during the events of May 25, 2013 five people knocked to the ground the lieutenant colonel of militia and beat him. This is denied by all participants of the rally. Instead, there are photos and video, which show how five militiamen knocked Mykola Smirnov to the ground and held him for a long time.

   As for Oleg Shevchuk the ruling of the court as evidence of the “breakdown of social order” and “breaking the fence” refers to the evidence of only one witness, district militiaman Dyachenko O.S., which arrested the activists.

   Mykola Smirnov and Ruslan Tkachenko were tried on May 25 and 30 for administrative offenses. However, later the case was requalified as a criminal one.

   On June 5, 2013 the Brovary City Court presided over by Judge Tamara Mikhiyenkova appointed for the activists house arrest as a preventive measure until August 4, 2013.

   Prosecutor of Brovary City&Region Prosecutor’s Office Liudmyla Taran said that defendants Smirnov and Tkachenko were suspected of a serious crime and Shevchuk of a moderate crime. According to the prosecutor, there is reason to believe that the activists may exert unlawful influence on witnesses in the said criminal proceedings, may commit another criminal offense or interfere with the criminal proceedings in another way, which is justified by the fact that during the action they did not respond to the comments of militiamen and committed disobedience.

   On June 7, 2013 the hearing of the criminal case of Oleg Shevchuk took place after the action “Down with political terror!” conducted by the opposition parties to support the “prisoners” and against political persecution. The judge imposed the preventive measure in the form of “house arrest” until August 5, 2013.

   It should be noted that Smirnov and Tkachenko actually were deprived of legal protection during consideration of the request for precautionary measure. Defender of Roman Simutin on the day of trial, June 5, was requalified as witness; earlier he was also twice detained by the militia. Later it was announced that the next day the Kyiv Administrative Appellate Courts denied the deputy the right to legal practice and excluded him from the Unified Register of Advocates of Ukraine.

   Notwithstanding the foregoing, Judge Tamara Mikhiyenkova fully satisfied all three charges. It should be noted that, according to activists, all three activists supported their children whom it would be difficult to feed now because the men were obliged to stay at home for two months and therefore they would be unable to work. Besides, the video to which initially referred the militia investigator in his suit and which was taken into account during the trial disappeared from the file. However, the prosecutor emphasized that currently the case is under investigation, which is why this evidence was not added to the case file.

   On June 13, 2013 the Kyiv Appellate Court considered the appeals of Smirnov and Tkachenko on illegality of decisions taken by the trial court. According to Mykola Smirnov, the court concerning both activists only corrected some errors of Brovary court, but left in force.

   On June 14, 2013 the appeal of Oleg Shevchuk against the house arrest as a preventive measure chosen in relation to the activist by Brovary City&Region Court. The panel of judges confirmed the decision of the first instance.

   On July 8, 2013 the Court changed the preventive measure for Oleg Shevchuk, Mykola Smirnov and Ruslan Tkachenko from house arrest to non-personal obligations. Judge of Brovary City&Region Court of Kyiv Oblast Olena Kichynska motivated the decision by the fact that for these people the house arrest actually meant the loss of opportunities to support their families, and is “an attempt to interfere with the functioning of parliamentary political force on the territory of the whole Brovary Region”. Also, the judge rejected the request to extend the house arrest of the activists until the fall.

     8. Case of the peaceful protesters near Mezhyhirya

    On April 10, 2013, the activists of the party “Democratic Alliance” planned to conduct an action against the poor state of roads in Ukraine near the presidential residence in the Village of Novi Petrivtsi (near Mezhyhirya). The Kyiv District Administrative Court banned the peaceful gathering because on that day the villagers planned to clean the consequences of the spring flood.

   Therefore the activists decided to check the progress of flood relief and arrived at the scene of the action, where the militia arrested Maxym Panov. The court sentenced the activist to administrative detention in Ivankiv investigatory isolation ward for seven days for violation of the organization and holding of peaceful assembly.

   On April 12 the action was organized in support of Maxym Panov in the Village of Novi Petrivtsi near Mezhyhirya. During the action Vasyl Hatsko was detained and sentenced to five days of administrative arrest for violation of the rules of organizing and conducting peaceful assemblies.

   9. Case of the organizer of “Vradiyivka procession” Vasyl Liubarets

   On July 18, 2013 in the downtown Kyiv, on the Independence Square, the rally was held by the residents of the urbanized area Vradiyivka as part of the all-Ukrainian action “Vradiyivka procession”. The action “Vradiyivka procession” began on July 7 after the gang rape of the 29 -year-old woman in Mykolayiv Oblast, which recognized her attackers in two local militiamen. The meters were joined by capital community activists. In the evening of July 18 the militia began to bring down tents pitched on Independence Square and detain activists.

   Two arrest reports were drawn up on Vasyl Liubarets on charges of violating the rules of peaceful assembly on different days: on 19 and 20 July.

   The Shevchenko Kyiv City Court presided over by Judge Anzor Saadulayev awarded ten days of administrative arrest to Vasyl Liubarets for violation of the organization and conduct of peaceful assembly. Only two journalists and two activists were allowed to enter the courtroom. In response to this decision Vasyl Lyubarets went on hunger strike.

   On the same day another judge of Shevchenko Court on the same charges acquitted Vasyl Liubarets for lack of corpus delicti.

  10. Case of the protesters against illegitimate Kyiv City Rada

   On August 16, 2013 the activists of the public movement “Save Old Kyiv” and political initiative “Volia” and journalist Tetiana Chornovol came to the session hall of the City Rada. They took the chair in protest against the scheduled for August 19 session of the City Rada the mandate of which ended on June 2, 2013 and refused to leave the hall.

   The law enforcement officers arrested Olexiy Herman, Igor Lutsenko, and Yegor Sobolev and brought them to the district station. The Shevchenko District Court of Kyiv sentenced all three to administrative detention for 5 days.

   11. Case of Rayisa Radchenko

   According to her daughter, on July 10, 2013 three people rang the doorbell to their apartment; they identified themselves as militia officers and a psychiatrist. They informed about the judgment of 27 June 2013 concerning psychiatric examination of Rayisa Radchenko involuntarily. She refused to open the door because the officials did not show documents in support of such court's decision.

On July 11, 2013 Rayisa Radchenko went to the Leninsky District Court of Zaporizhzhia to learn about the judgment. In court, the woman was detained; she barely had time to call her daughter and ask for help. The daughter and her 5-year-old invalid child, who came to court to find out the location of mother and grandmother, were brutally treated by several men in civilian clothes. Although the court granted permission only for a psychiatric examination of Rayisa Radchenko, the psychiatrists immediately started her “treatment” despite the failure to obtain consent from the patient.

   On July 13 the psychiatric hospital administration refused activists, journalists and even lawyer Mr. Radchenko to visit Rayisa Radchenko on the grounds of possible worsening of her mental health. The daughter was allowed a very short visit to her mother. According to daughter, the hospital attendants linked arms with her mother and led her out because she could no longer walk on her own.

   On July 15 Head of Komunar district court of Zaporizhzhia Serhiy Herasymenko satisfied the appeal of the oblast psychiatric hospital for her coercion hospitalization. According to her daughter, which is also confirmed by the available material, Rayisa Radchenko was never registered as mentally ill. When diagnosing “organic brain damage” the psychiatrists refer to her medical history that had not been brought into court. Instead, the court refused to conduct an independent examination in Kyiv.

   According to the Department of public relations of the regional branch of the MIA of Ukraine in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the grounds for sending for compulsory examination in a psychiatric hospital included the appeals of janitors, local bank and restaurant personnel with complaints about allegedly inappropriate behavior of Rayisa Radchenko.

   Moreover, the explanations were provided by the organizations with which Rayisa Radchenko was in conflict relationships because she championed the interests of the community, which opposed the land development.

   Despite allegations of aggressive and illegal behavior, no arrest records were ever drawn up about administrative offenses of Rayisa Radchenko; she was never subjected to administrative detention. Before that Rayisa returned from a trip to Kyiv, where she met with officials and filed complaints, in particular, to the Secretariat of the Ombudsman of Ukraine.

   On July 26, 2013 Rayisa Radchenko was released from the mental hospital. Currently, she is at home with her daughter and grandson. According to her daughter Daryna Radchenko, the health of her mother worsened due to medication she took in the mental hospital.

   On August 8, 2013 the Appellate Court of Zaporizhzhia Oblast reversed the decision of Komunar District Court of Zaporizhzhia on compulsory psychiatric treatment of activist Rayisa Radchenko.

   On August 12, 2013 the lawyer of Rayisa Radchenko lodged a complaint to the Appellate Court against the decision of the Leninsky District Court of Zaporizhzhia on compulsory psychiatric examination of the activist in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast Psychiatric Hospital

   12. Case of the “Bankova prisoners”[3]

   After clashes of the protesters with Berkut units and interior troops on December 1, 2013 on Bankova Street in Kyiv near the Presidential Administration of Ukraine 9 people were detained: Yaroslav Prytulenko, Volodyslav Zahorovko, Yehor Previr, Yuri Bolotov, Olexandr Ostashchenko, Valery Harahuts, Serhiy Nuzhnenko, Mykola Lazarevsky, and Hennady Cherevko. Everyone was facing criminal charges of organizing mass disturbances. The Court chose the preventive measure for them: two-month detention.

   Detainees were not acquainted with each other before, had no problems with the law, and were not members of political parties.

   The information of lawyers, relatives and friends of those detained boils down to as follows:

   Lazarevsky Mykola: 23 years old, studies to become an architect designer, Ternopil resident. At 22.00 on 01.12.13 he called his bride and said that he is in the emergency hospital. The video shot on Bankova Street shows that Mykola, who did not resist, was brutally booted in the face, and then his wallet was taken from him. Badly hurt head, brain concussion, broken nose, signs of bruises and hematomas all over his body.

   Previr Yehor: 27 years old, studies to become an IT specialist. For the first time took part in the protest. Yegor was badly beaten by Berkut troopers: internal brain injury, brain concussion, broken nose, dislocated jaw. The troopers took off his jacket, put him face down on the pavement and periodically trampled down on his body when he attempted to stir a little. In this way they treated him until 22:00 and then brought him to the Holosiyiv District Militia Department. He was rendered first medical aid at 10 am on December 2. Almost a week after the events of December 1 he occasionally lost consciousness.

   Zahorovko Volodyslav: 38 years, international long-distance hauler, and father of three children. Arrested on 01.12.13 at 16:55 on Bankova Street, his lawyers were informed at 03:50 on 02.12.13. The stun grenade damaged his eye. After his arrest he was kept lying on the pavement for a few hours, then the troopers forced him to his knees and brutally beat up. Aside from the damaged eye, he has his head badly hurt, broken ribs, numerous bruises all over his body, especially on the legs. After numerous requests of his lawyer he was transferred to the hospital at the investigatory isolation ward.

   Ostashchenko Olexandr: 32 years, designing engineer, father of a young daughter. Olexandr’s friends told that he was on the video of assault and battery of people near the Administration: he is the man who raises both hands to avoid being beaten; then video shows how the Berkut troopers beat Olexandr, there was also a moment when he was kicked with a foot to check if he was still alive. He has brain concussion, broken fingers, bruised chest, and hematomas all over his body.

   Bolotov Yuri: 39 years, entrepreneur, ex-manager of the band “Okean Elzy”, and father of two children. According to his friend, Yuri watched the events on the Bankova. Immediately after the clean-up operation on the street the communication with Yuri interrupted. The video of the events on Bankova Street showed how a Berkut trooper truncheoned Yuri shouting: “On your knees, scum”. As a result of the beating he has numerous soft-tissue lesions, hematomas and bruises, galled knees, and elbows. Like others, after being detained he spent two hours lying on the pavement.

   Harahuts Valery: 45 years, known Dnipropetrovsk journalist and public activist, founder of the newspaper “Litsa”. 01.12.13 he had the first aid kit with him and tried to administer first aid to the victims from the Bankova; they promptly seized him and began beating, and then he was forced for not less than two hours to lie on the pavement, he was not allowed to rise, occasionally they truncheoned him on the back and head. He has a brain concussion, multiple hematomas on the legs and body.

   Nuzhenko Serhiy: 31, photographer from Kirovohrad, lives in Kyiv. He is not a member of political organizations; he is in trade and enjoys photography. As a volunteer Serhiy takes care of children orphanages. According to Serhiy’s friend, on 01.12.13 on Bankova Street he just took pictures, but he caught it from the Berkut troopers. He has cerebral injury, multiple bruises, and hematomas. After the arrest he was held on the pavement and booted until he lost consciousness. After beating Serhiy was taken to the emergency hospital.

   Prytulenko Yaroslav: 21 years, student, works in the shop, he has nothing to do with either political parties or organizations. According to his friend, they went to see what’s boiling on Bankova Street. For some time after the arrest, his cell-phone was active; Yaroslav informed that he was beaten, but not much. He was arrested on the Shovkovychna Street: the plainclothes men knocked him down, pressed his chest to the asphalt, and kicked him in the face and punched his kidneys.

   Cherevko Hennady: 41 years, bargaining agent of Lubny, non-partisan, and father of two children. During the arrest they continued beating him when he was already down; according to Hennady’s lawyer, he was led between two rows of troopers who struck at him as he passed. As a result, he has broken wrist, head cut, numerous hematomas, including ones on his face.

   The “prisoners of Bankova” were forced to sign a written consent to the dismissal of criminal charges and plea, though they were not guilty. Valery Harahuts was the only one who did not agree to accept such discharge and continues to participate in the criminal proceedings against the Berkut troopers as the victim of beating.

   A few days later, Andriy Dzindzia and Volodymyr Kadura, activists of “Traffic Control”, were detained. They were accused of stealing a bulldozer on December 1. Later Victor Smoliy, Dzindzia’s lawyer, was beaten and detained as he was charged with alleged attacking the judge during hearing of the Dzindzia’s case. In Lviv they arrested photographer Oleg Panas and transferred him to Kyiv. The court chose for all of them a preventive measure in the form of two months in custody.

   In addition, three men-- Vitaliy Blahodarnyi, Oleg Matiash and Roman Bilenky--were also kept in custody for their alleged fight with the militiamen near the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on November 24. Another arrested Maidan activist Olexandr Solonenko is suspected in a fight near the monument to Lenin on December 1.


[1] Prepared by Olexandra Matviychuk, Center for Civil Liberties, and Yevhen Zakharov, KHPG.

[2] Guide to the definition of the term "political prisoner"

[3] From the Yevromaidan SOS news release "Review of developments in the period of mass peaceful protests; issue 1 (from 30.11.2013 to 18.12., 2013)."


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