Conflicts involving the use of force in constituencies and the exertion of pressure on media editors

Conflicts involving the use of force in constituencies and the exertion of pressure on media editors. Political and civil rights in Ukraine. July 8-14, 2019

THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND OPINION

As a part of the electoral campaign in Ukraine, there were reported cases of pressure being put on TV channels belonging to a candidate from one of the opposition political parties. Thus, on July 8th, in Kiev, several dozen right-wing radical “activists” picketed the “NewsOne” TV channel.

The action was connected to the “NewsOne” teleconference scheduled for July 12th with the Russian TV channel “Rossiya24”. The participants of the action, among who were the leaders of nationalist groups Sergey Sternenko and Evgeny Karas, burned flares, shouted insults and threats, and set off firecrackers. Also, activists demanded to cancel the license of “NewsOne” outside of the National Council on Television and Radio Broadcasting. After this, the National Council decided to carry out an unscheduled inspection of the TV channel. The details of what is happening can found in this video. Later, due to threats of physical reprisals against journalists, “NewsOne” cancelled the teleconference. In addition, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine opened a case on state treason because of the planned teleconference and is preparing a lawsuit for the seizure of the television channel’s assets. The owner of the channel Taras Kozak was summoned for questioning.

On the night of July 12th-13th, unknown persons fired a grenade launcher at the building of the “112” TV channel, which also formally belongs to Taras Kozak (it is believed that both channels are controlled by one of the leaders of the “Opposition Platform” Viktor Medvedchuk) Earlier, the TV channel “112” announced the showing of Oliver Stone's film “Revealing Ukraine” concerning events on Independence Square in 2013-2014, as well as the war in Eastern Ukraine.

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On July 12th, the entire editorial office of the “Patriot” newspaper was summoned for interrogation to the Korostenskoye police station of the Zhytomyr region for publishing material about people's deputy Sergey Pashinsky. According to the lawyer, the journalists were not previously served with a summons for questioning. Pashinsky is running in the parliamentary election as an independent candidate in constituency No. 64 in Korosten, Zhytomyr region. More details can be found here.

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On July 13th, the Ukrainian journalist and publicist Oles Buzina would have turned 50 years old. On April 16th 2016 he was killed in the courtyard of his house. Despite the fact that more than 3 years have passed since the high-profile murder, the court is still considering the case, and, respectively, the criminals have not been punished and remain at large. On July 11th, in the Shevchenkovsky district court of Kiev, during a hearing on this case, another challenge was announced to the judge. A stalemate was made concerning the case: due to the fact that all the judges who were involved in the case had withdrawn themselves or had been challenged by one of the parties, it was no longer possible in the Shevchenkovsky court of Kiev to form a new court composition, which is required by law. The journalist's killers are still free.

ELECTIONS 2019. THE RIGHT TO ELECT AND BE ELECTED

The last week of the electoral campaign before the July 21st early parliamentary election vote is underway. On July 11th, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a new Electoral Code with open lists. However, this does not affect the current election. “Uspishna Varta” continues to monitor the situation.

Severe accusations were made during the formation of district commissions (DECs) in a number of constituencies. Thus, on July 8th the CEC terminated the powers of the entire composition of DEC No. 47 (Slavyansk, Donetsk region) early due to gross violations during the creation of precinct election commissions (PECs). At the same time, the CEC responds to similar violations in DEC No. 51 (Zaitsevo, Donetsk region). In the smallest electoral district in Ukraine, there are only 4 localities and 2,700 voters, and 26 candidates are fighting for their votes. Candidates carry out massive voter bribery in the form of humanitarian aid and a variety of gifts. According to a source close to one of the candidates, active processes of “buying off” members are taking place in the district commission. The amounts offered for the 5 members of the DEC go up to a fabulous $100,000. As it became known to “Uspishna Varta”, the secretary of DEC No. 51, appointed under such a quota, was entered into the Unified State Register of Persons who have committed corruption offenses. In 2015, the court found Kravchenko guilty, including of having a conflict of interest - the employment of her spouse in the commission she headed in the Lugansk region in the 2015 elections. However, in this election the husband of Kravchenko, along with she herself, is a member of the same DEC No. 51, but from another party. More details about the electoral campaign in Zaitsevo can be found in the material of “Uspishna Varta”.

On July 13th-14th, in district No. 51, events acquired the character of a confrontation involving the use of force. The head of the military-civil administration and the self-promoted candidate Vladimir Veselkin (associated with Poroshenko) teamed up with the people of the “Nobody But Us” candidate Aleksandr Kovalev and simply paralyzed the procedure for changing the place of voting in the Bakhmutsky district administration. They want to prevent voters from the non-controlled territories from voting on July 21st, despite the fact that people have this right to do this. The police at the scene were inactive. The candidate in the same district Nadezhda Savchenko intervened. She tried to unblock the entrance of the office. As a result, her opponents simply “mined” the building of the Bakhmutsky regional state administration, and the receipt of documents was blocked. More information about the situation can be found in the video.

“Uspishna Varta” continues to monitor the situation in constituency No. 51 in Zaitsevo, Donetsk region.

Conflicts were recorded in other constituencies. Thus, in the village of Shpitky in the Kiev-Svyatoshinsky district, Kiev region, unknown persons set fire to the shop of the current deputy of the Kiev regional council and parliamentary election candidate. As a result, criminal proceedings were launched under Article 194 (Intentional destruction or damage to property) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Law enforcement officers did not disclose the name of the victim.

And in Kherson, on July 8th, the car of the authorized representative of the parliamentary election candidate from the party “Servant of the People” was burnt. According to investigators, the arson is connected to the woman’s professional activities. The incident was preliminarily qualified under part 2 of Article 194 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Intentional destruction or damage to property committed by arson”).

RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION

On July 11th, in the village of Morozovka in the Baryshevsky district of the Kiev region, the activists of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), together with representatives of the local authorities, tried to seal off the Svyato-Uspensky Church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). The abbot of the temple, Archpriest Nikolay Brega, told parishioners that local officials and about 8 activists of the OCU had arrived at the temple. After this, the parishioners also arrived at the temple. There was a verbal skirmish between those who had assembled, and after 20 minutes, local authorities got into a car and drove away, without having sealed off the church.

MONITORING HUMAN RIGHTS CASES

The State Bureau of Investigation is carrying out investigative actions in relation to the website “Mirotvorets”, concerning the criminal actions of which the human rights platform “Uspishna Varta” earlier filed a statement. Thus, on July 10th it became known that the personal information of the journalist of the YouTube channel “Klymenko Time” was removed from the “Mirotvorets” online resource. However, it isn’t yet known who transmitted and published the personal data of the journalist, when it was done, and under what circumstances it happened. The human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta” insist on further investigating the crime committed by “Mirotvorets” in relation to the journalist, as well as other numerous facts of people’s personal data being entered into the website without their consent.

After the decision made by the Constitutional Court on June 25th, which declared that part 5 of article 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine is unconstitutional, the process of releasing political prisoners continues in Ukraine (see the review of “Uspishna Varta” for July 1-7).

Thus, on July 9th, the Dneprovsky District Court of Kiev changed the measure of restraint imposed on the doctor Petro Mikhalchevsky, from being held in the pre-trial detention center to house arrest. The accused was released from custody in the courthouse. Recall that on January 5th 2018 the house of the former Minister of Health of Crimea, doctor Petro Mikhalchevsky, was searched, and he was later detained. The prosecutor's office brought charges against him under Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("State treason" - the sanction of the article stipulates punishment in the form of imprisonment for up to 15 years).

On July 8th the Supreme Court decided to change the jurisdiction of the case on changing the measure of restraint imposed on Aleksandr Efremov. Now the Kiev Court of Appeal will consider the appeal against the terms of the detention of Aleksandr Efremov. Recall that the Ukrainian politician Aleksandr Efremov was detained on July 30th 2016 and has since been held in the Starobelsk pre-trial detention center in the Lugansk region. He is accused of committing state treason, encroaching on territorial integrity, creating a terrorist organisation and capturing state buildings. The details of his case can be found here.

Recall that over the past 5 years, human rights activists have documented over 500 cases in which people have been unconditionally detained on charges of treason, attempts to overthrow the constitutional system, espionage, and other articles.

Download Political and civil rights in Ukraine. 8 - 14 July 2019


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