Following the 2010 Presidential elections the new Administration began steadily resorting to political persecution of its opponents and critics. This has been widely reported by the media; foreign and Ukrainian experts. The first sign of political persecution at local level was the imprisonment under Article 185 of the Code of Administrative Offences, supposedly for resisting police, for 15 days of two people protesting against the tree-felling in Kharkiv’s Gorky Park.
Amnesty International for the first time in six years declared the two activists prisoners of conscience (the only other case in 20 years of independence had been in 2004).
There have undoubtedly been political grounds for the criminal prosecutions against participants in the Tax Code Maidan, the protests in autumn 2010 against the Tax Code; against members of "Tryzub" (for beheading the bust of Stalin on 28 December 2010); over the daubing with paint of the monument to Felix Dzerzhynsky; the egg frying on the Eternal Flame in Kyiv; against former government officials: Yulia Tymoshenko; Yury Lutsenko; Bohdan Danylyshyn; Yevhen Korniychuk. One can, with a high level of certainty, call the prosecutions of Valery Ivashchenko, Ihor Didenko, Anatoly Makarenko and other former government officials remanded in custody during the investigation, political persecution.
The absurdity, immorality and pure Soviet hypocrisy in combining abuse of the law with stringent restraint measures, as well as the political motivation of these prosecutions, leave nobody with any doubts. We are forced to acknowledge that Ukraine now has political prisoners.
There is also widespread use of such unlawful political harassment as "prophylactic" talks, well-known in Soviet times, with threats that a person will be dismissed from his job or educational institution; unlawful actions by the law enforcement bodies (beatings, unlawful gathering of personal information, unlawful surveillance; detentions; searches, etc); obstructing circulation of information and others.
Political persecution is a challenge to Ukrainian society. In order to put a stop to such actions by the authorities, we, the undersigned, are creating a Public Committee against Political Persecution in Ukraine (the Committee) which will take on the following tasks:
1) informing the Ukrainian public and international community about political persecution, about the condition of victims and protests against political repression;
2) Production of a weekly Record of Political Persecution in Ukraine in Ukrainian and English;
3) Legal defence for victims of political persecution; the creation of a fund to assist victims, material assistance where needed for their relatives;
4) Actions aimed at stopping political persecution, for example, protests against political repression in Ukraine
5) Monitoring of criminal prosecutions with political overtones.
The Committee is an apolitical, non-party association of human rights activists from Soviet and modern days, which has no purposes other than those defined above.
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