Prosecutor General again ignores human rights concerns

On 16 April Ukraine’s Prosecutor General ignored warnings from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union about the human rights situation in Moldova and extradited two people accused of involvement in the protests of 7 April. According to Interfax, the two – Gabriel Stati and Aurel Marinesku have already been arrested for 30 days.

Earlier on Thursday UHHRU issued a statement in which it expressed concern over the widespread flagrant human rights violations in the wave of the events in Chişinău (Kishinev) on 7 April 2009.

While stressing that it can in no way approve of any manifestations of violence during the political process and that the situation is difficult, it states that “there can be no justification for the wave of brutality and violence vented by the authorities against members of the opposition who may have overstepped the permissible limits in expressing their protest.

Mass arrests of mainly young people, the use of torture against those detained, disappearances, conviction without proper procedure, without the possibility of defending themselves against the unceasing pressure of the police – none of this can be called measures to prevent unrest.

It has been learned that two people detained during the mass arrests died from torture and we have no information to suggest that an investigation is being carried out into these crimes and those guilty punished.

Hundreds have been convicted of administrative offences, having been given neither the time, nor the opportunity to prepare their defence. Hundreds have been arrested and the official figures are several times lower than those provided by civic organizations.

Six people have disappeared without trace.
There are no grounds for distrusting these figures especially given numerous judgments from the European Court of Human Rights which found Moldova responsible for the kind of human rights abuses which have taken on a mass nature in recent days.

We are also concerned over the hasty statements regarding political conspiracy supposedly behind the events of 7 April. This presents an even greater risk for those detained that they will be subjected to torture and ill-treatment with the authorities seeking proof of such conspiracy.

The scale of widespread and organized State violence far exceeds the need to maintain public order and is more reminiscent of a warning to those who believe they have the right to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and the right to political choice. We therefore view such action as a violation of these fundamental rights.”
The statement goes on to speak of the two opposition figures who have indeed been extradited.

“We believe that the extradition of these people to Moldova will indicate support and justification by the authorities in Ukraine for those mass violations of human rights taking part in that country. Ukraine as a member of the UN Human Rights Council must not allow a situation where the world sees it as an advocate for brutality and violence towards dissidents. In putting forward its candidacy to the Council, Ukraine committed itself to honour the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and avoid double standards in its assessment of situations. As representative of Eastern Europe on this important international body, Ukraine must not be silent in the face of mass violations of human rights in a neighbouring country.

We call on the Ukrainian authorities to condemn the mass violations of human rights in Moldova on and following 7 April 2009, and to initiate a review of the situation at the next session of the UN Human Rights Council.

We call on all Ukrainian authorities to refrain from any actions which could be interpreted as direct or indirect approval of the actions of the Moldovan authorities.
We call on the Moldovan authorities to take immediate action to stop torture, mass arrests and collective court hearings over the events of 7 April.
We also demand that they immediately and thoroughly investigate all information about torture, arbitrary arrest and violations of the rights of the detained.
We call on international organizations to come out with a swift and decisive condemnation of the mass violations of human rights in Moldova.

Arkady Bushchenko, Head of the UHHRU Board
Volodymyr Yavorsky, UHHRU Executive Director

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