Activists of the action “Ukraine without Kuchma” ask for an official rehabilitation

Four years have passed since the infamous day of March 9, the events of which lead to the arrest of 18 members of UNA-UNSO, who were recognized political prisoners by the European Council. Today they address the President of Ukraine with the requirement to regain justice and completely rehabilitate all imprisoned for political views.   


Let’s remind that on March 9, 2001 during the action “Ukraine without Kuchma” at first near the monument to Taras Shevchenko, and then in Bankova street a skirmish happened between unarmed demonstrators and militiamen in helmets, with rubber sticks and metal shields. After this fight militiamen detained and severely beat hundreds of demonstrators, and eighteen members of UNA-UNSO were imprisoned on different terms.  

In a few years the European Council Parliamentary Assembly in its resolution, among other things, expressed its profound alarm caused by “imposing disproportional punishments on persons who participated in the political demonstration on March 9, 2001” and at that time were kept in prisons, and suggested considering them political prisoners.

The arrests resulted in a long trial (149 sittings of the court) and sentences from two to four years of deprivation of liberty to the convicted who at the moment fully served the sentence.

Today representatives of the convicted UNA-UNSO members, together with the head of the trade union of internal affairs officers conducted a press conference where they made public their statement to Viktor Yushchenko.

The first positive changes on the case already outlined. At the beginning of March representatives of the political prisoners and the head of the internal affairs bodies certified officers trade union H. Kabanchenko agreed on common actions to regain justice by means of the legal methods available in the state.

Viktor Yushchenko’s speech in Lviv in February can’t help gratifying UNA-UNSO members, when he stated about his good will to rehabilitate convicted UNA-UNSO members involved in the case of March 9, 2001. 

Besides, activists of the action “Ukraine without Kuchma” last year brought an action to the European Court for human rights and recently have received an answer stating “the Court will consider the case as soon as possible”. Meanwhile, according to the lawyer of the political prisoners Andriy Mamalyha, a petition to the Supreme Court of Ukraine on revising the case in the order of exceptional process is ready.   

Ihor Mazur, the head of the Kyiv UNA-UNSO organization, hopes that within a few months the issue on rehabilitation will be positively solved, despite the fact that in the bodies of judicial government and prosecution some representatives of the old regime remained.

Olena Holiuk


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