Police again find no infringements

The Ministry of Internal Affairs sees no violations in the search of human rights activist Dmytro Groisman’s flat. It has no problem either with the arrest of Oleksiy Verentsov and Ihor Tanichkevcyh over their peaceful picket outside the Prosecutor’s Office in Lviv. In the letter just received by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, it was correct to arrest the two men since they “threatened and persistently disobeyed police officers”.

The Ministry also has no problem with the fact that police officers stood by and did neither while journalist and Head of the Kherson Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine was assaulted. “The police officers were protecting public order of adjoining territory, while the pass system was overseen by staff of the Kherson City Council Executive Committee”.

The explanation is quite extraordinary, since the police officers, even if they were responsible for other territory, saw what was happening.  As reported, Dementiy publicly called on the Mayor who was making his “report” to a carefully selected audience to tell the guards to allow those wishing to attend into the hall where, as the video shows, there were plenty of free places.  Instead, Dementiy was shoved into the foyer by three men, one of whom proceeded to hit him on the face.  The police officers saw it all and did nothing. 


The Prosecutor’s Office has initiated a criminal investigation.


With regard to Verentsov and Tanichkevcyh, their resistance was supposedly demonstrated by their being on grass, flower beds and the road. The letter also cites the initial ruling by the Halytsky Court in Lviv sentencing the men to 3 days administrative arrest for disobeying a police officer’s legitimate order and infringing the procedure for organizing a peaceful gathering.


It fails to mention the fact that the Lviv Regional Court of Appeal cancelled the ruling to bring administrative proceedings against Ihor Tanichkevcyh last week (i.e. after Ihor spent 4 days, counting one before the ruling, in custody). This means that the arrest was unlawful.


Concerning the search of Dmytro Groisman’s flat, the letter states that this was in connection with a criminal investigation and that the police were looking for material evidence.


As reported at the time, the criminal investigation regarding pornography was over an entry on Dmytro’s Live Journal about a Youtube clip which can still be watched here.  The entry was from May, so a criminal investigation 6 months later already raises many questions.  The “material evidence” removed included two leaflets from a German anti-AIDS foundation, promoting safe sex, and a video from when his son was a baby.  Of even greater concern is the fact that the police, while having a search warrant for Dmytro Groisman’s flat, then searched – without any warrant – the premises of the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group, removing confidential material about refugees and asylum seekers, financial documents as well as computer technology.

The Ministry continues to see nothing wrong.


Their confidence on this score is not shared by Ukrainian and international human rights organizations.


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