Ukraine has a new president, but journalists continue to sit in prison Political and civil rights in Ukraine. May 13-19, 2019

Ukraine has a new president, but journalists continue to sit in prison Political and civil rights in Ukraine. May 13-19, 2019

FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND OPINION

During the week before the inauguration of the new President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky (May 20th), new cases of security bodies persecuting journalists and human rights defenders were recorded.

Thus, on May 12th at "Boryspil" airport was detained by the SBU editor-in-chief of the website "Law and Control" Denis Sadokha.After a "conversation" in the Central Management of the SBU, the journalist was released. According to Denis Sadokha, he was also warned that in the near future he would be officially summoned for questioning.

On May 13th in Lvov, during 7 hours the employees of the SBU carried out a search in the house of the head of Uzhgorod and Transcarpathian regional societies of Russian culture "Rus", the editor of the regional newspaper "Pravozakhist" Vladimir Saltykov. During the search phones, disks, and a computer were confiscated. The SBU hasn't brought charges yet. In comment to "Uspishna Varta" Vladimir Saltykov links the search with his work as a journalist. More details can be read here.

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May 15th marked exactly one year since the editor-in-chief of RIA "Novosti Ukraine" Kirill Vyshinsky was detained. Earlier, on May 7th, during another hearing, the court extended the arrest of the journalist for another 60 days - until July 22. Kirill Vyshinsky gave the human rights activists of "Uspishna Varta" a letter in which he calls the charges brought against him by the Prosecutor's Office and the SBU absurd and expresses his position on the case. The full text of Kirill Vyshinsky's letter can be read here.

ATTACKS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

“Uspishna Varta” is also extremely concerned about new cases of right-wing groups attacking human rights defenders and public activists. Physical aggression of right-wing radical groups against dissidents remains one of the most significant challenges for the resolution of human rights and freedoms in Ukraine and requires a corresponding response from law enforcement bodies.

Thus, on May 15th, nationalists attacked the volunteer of “Uspishna Varta” Spartak Golovachev, who was an official observer for the 2019 presidential election, near the Frunzensky court in Kharkov. The attackers sprayed tear gas at Spartak Golovachev’s eyes and poured green paint on him. In this regard, the hearing on the case of Spartak Golovachev, which he arrived at the court to attend, was postponed. Doctors ascertained a chemical burn in both eyes of the first and second degree. The human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta” categorically condemn the fact of aggression towards Spartak Golovachev and demand that the police investigate the crime. More details can be read here.

On the same day, on May 15th, in Zaporozhye, “activists” from the “C14” group attacked the journalist and volunteer of “Uspishna Varta” Pavel Volkov. The attack on the journalist took place at the venue of an event in support of LGBT. Also, the “activists” of “C14” doused the participants of the event with zelenka, in every way provoking them into responding. The journalist informed law enforcement bodies about the attack.

MONITORING HUMAN RIGHTS CASES

“Uspishna Varta” continues to monitor trials in cases that show signs of political persecution.

On May 14th, during a hearing on the case of the Ukrainian director and cameraman Oleg Sagan, “activists” from the “C14” group led by Evgeny Karas shouted insults and threats at the defendant, and provoked those present. The agenda of the court hearing included the question about considering the prosecutor’s motion regarding extending the measure of restraint imposed on the accused and the decision to appoint a judicial review on the basis of the indictment. The judicial collegium, under the pressure of the “C14” group, decided to extend the director’s detention for the next 2 months. Recall that the 63-year-old director and cameraman Oleg Sagan was detained in November 2018. For the preparation of video clips for YouTube, he is accused of encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine under Part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. On May 2nd 2019 Oleg Sagan was charged with the indictment, and the case was brought to the Solomensky court in Kiev. Oleg Sagan repeatedly complained about torture and deteriorating health due to conditions in the pre-trial detention center. More about his case can be read here.

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On May 13th a regular hearing was held in the Krasnogvardeysky Court of Dnepr concerning the case of the sportswoman Darya Mastikasheva, who is accused of state treason. The judicial collegium refused to provide the lawyer of Matikasheva with temporary access to the logs of phone calls of persons who took part in the detention of Darya and the interrogation of witnesses declared by the defence. Also, once again, the statements of Mastikasheva and her lawyers about the abduction and torture that the accused was subjected to were ignored. The court extended the measure of restraint imposed on Darya Mastikasheva in the form of detention for 60 days. Recall that the athlete has been in a pre-trial detention center since August 2017, without a court verdict. More about the case of Matikasheva can be read here.

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The court hearing on the case of "Groisman’s interpreter" Stanislav Ezhov that was supposed to be held on May 17th was postponed to May 23rd. Recall that Ezhov is accused of state treason (Part 1 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). He was detained on December 20th 2017 by the SBU and has been in jail for more than a year. More details about the case of Ezhov can be read here.

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Torture is being used against the businessman Andrey Tatarintsev, who has been in the Volnyansky pre-trial detention center (Zaporozhye) since the autumn of 2017. The lawyer said that Tatarintsev had high blood pressure and diabetes, but in the sanitary unit he was not given any medication at all, since there simply are no medicines in the detention facility. An ambulance paramedic in the courtroom spoke about the need to hospitalise Tatarintsev. However, the measure of restraint imposed on the accused in the form of detention in a pre-trial detention center, where they cannot provide the necessary medical assistance, is extended time after time. More about the case of Tatarintsev can be read here.

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"Case of Ilya Bogdanov's kidnapping". In November 2016 the SBU staged the kidnapping of Ilya Bogdanov, who was presented in the media as a "FSB officer" who defected to Ukraine, allegedly by the Russian special services. Like in the case of the "murder" of the journalist Arkady Babchenko in May 2018, after a press conference was held by the head of the SBU Vasily Gritsak and head of the Prosecutor-General’s Office Yury Lutsenko, the case of the "kidnapping" of Bogdanov received a significant public response. But the inconsistencies in the Bogdanov case immediately aroused suspicion that the kidnapping itself was staged. Later he himself in numerous interviews and in his testimony during the trial confirmed the inauthenticity of his kidnapping. Now Ilya Bogdanov is a Kiev restaurateur. And the Kharkov resident Andrey Guryev - a man accused of being involved in his kidnapping under the article "trafficking in human beings" - has been in jail for more than 2.5 years without a court verdict.

The human rights activists of "Uspishna Varta" attended the hearing on the case of Andrey Guryev on May 13th in Kharkov and talked to his lawyer Valery Yarichevsky in order to understand the case in more detail. Also, human rights activists were able to communicate directly with the suspect Andrey Guryev. More details about this case can be read here.

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