KHPG: On the arrest of a number of members of VO Tryzub

The Kharkiv Human Rights Group is disturbed by a number of arrests of the leaders and other members of the organization “Tryzub” named after Stepan Bandera in connection with a criminal case initiated by the Zaporizhya SBU [Security Service]. The criminal investigation is under Article 258 of the Criminal Code (act of terrorism) which is how the Zaporizhya Prosecutor and SBU have classified the explosion which destroyed the bust of Stalin in Zaporizhya on 31 December 2010.

This bust was erected on land owned by the regional committee (obkom) of the Ukrainian Communist Party, has the status of a small architectural form and is not under State protection. Nonetheless, the explosion could have endangered the life and health of people who happened to be nearby. According to the guard on duty in the obkom premises in the evening, the explosion was set off by one person. Yet there have been arrests now for three days throughout Ukraine, and according to media reports over 15 members of “Tryzub” have been detained. It is extraordinary that they should be detaining people who on that New Year evening were hundreds of kilometres away from Zaporizhya.


In our opinion, this is extremely dangerous and is reminiscent of the deliberately hyped up trials of the 1930s – 1950s, aimed at intimidating the population and undermining the law in the country.


This looks like repression directed at inciting ideological enmity between the East and West of the country. Such behaviour without any explanation or justification from the State could provoke the public, especially young people, to unforeseeable actions.

Against the background of recent events with the arrests of former ministers from Yulia Tymoshenko’s government and of participants in the Tax Code protests on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square], the criminal charges against members of “Tryzub” cannot fail to cause concern.  


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