Democracy inside out (number of political prisoners in Ukraine is growing with each passing month)

As reported by Ukrainian media, detained the former head of the Party of Regions Alexander Efremov, new charges - in the financing of separatism in Luhansk region and inciting ethnic hatred. Prior to this politician was accused only of abuse of office. On Wednesday, the deputy was released on bail. But it is doubtful whether this political repression of the new Ukrainian government be limited.

A few days earlier - on February 8 in Ukraine was arrested journalist from Ivano-Frankivsk Ruslan Kotsaba accused of gosizmene. The reason for the charge was the action initiated by a journalist, “I refuse to mobilize” in which a video removed Kotsaba President Poroshenko, in which he stated that he was ready to go to prison, but to “participate in a fratricidal civil war” does not want to. SBU instantly responded to the initiative of the journalist, are constantly in hot spots and removes the most dangerous stories. But it did not affect the view of Ruslan Kotsaby. “I beg to believe me as a war correspondent in the East goes civil fratricidal war!” - Said he was in court. Note that Amnesty International recognized Ruslan Kotsabu prisoner of conscience and demands from the Ukrainian authorities for his release.

Very common are cases of involvement in terrorist organizations. For example, a blogger and a retired officer Sergei Pevruhina detained precisely on such charges. Known journalist Elena Bloch spent three months in detention Lukyanovka jail before she was released. Everything takes place in the normal way - suddenly come into the house staff, if the person - not media heavy person, it just disappears. Public figures - politicians and journalists still somehow retain links with family and friends, get support from outside.

On the situation of political prisoners in modern Ukraine, we talked to a human rights activist, a member of the Institute of the “Republic” and the Ukrainian Helsinki Union Vladimir Chemeris.

“SP” - Vladimir Vladimirovich, how about Ukrainian people persecuted for political reasons?

- This official statistics do not exist. At least on the official requests of our human rights organization nor prosecutors nor the police have not responded. Very often “political” article (”separatism”, “inciting ethnic hatred”, “propaganda for war”, “resistance army”, “evasion of mobilization”) imputed citizens with clean criminal - “illegal possession of weapons”, “hooliganism.” But based on indirect evidence, I think that for political reasons in Ukraine now has several hundred citizens. If we talk about the regions, the most information about the detentions comes from Kharkov, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk and Ivano-Frankivsk. Ruslan Kotsaba - not only arrested in Galicia ……

24 February 2015

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