Two members of Democratic Alliance detained for holding peaceful rallies near Mezhyhirya

Apr 14th, 2013 | By | Category: Crime, Events, Freedom of Assembly, Protests, Ukraine

by Alica Ruban

Over the two days two members of Democratic Alliance – the Chairman Vasyl Gatsko and the Head of Kyiv city branch Maksym Panov, were sentenced to 5 and 7 days of administrative detention for holding demonstrations near Mezhyhirya, the residence and office of President Yanukovych.

On April 1 the Head of Kyiv city branch of Democratic Alliance Maksym Panov submitted notification of a protest rally on April 10 near presidential residence Mezhyhirya against the poor state of Ukrainian roads. As exactly the President appoints and fires the Head of State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine (Ukravtodor).

On April 5 Vyshogorsky regional court banned the rally because of liquidation of the flood planned for April 10.

On April 10 members of Democratic Alliance together with journalists of TVi Channel came to Mezhyriya in order to help liquidate the flood. They came to Mezhyhirya without any banners, flags or other protest equipment. After giving some comments to journalists they intended to leave Mezyhirya but on their way to Kyiv they were stopped by the police and four of them Vasyl Gatsko, Maksym Panov, Andriy Bogdanovych and Oleksandr Boycool were forcefully taken to the court. The police have also obstructed activity of journalists, preventing them from filming the activity of special unit of Ukrainian police “Berkut”.

On April 11 Maksym Panov was sentenced to 7 days of administrative detention. Other members were charged with the administrative offense and fined each 170 UAH. Till late night DA members and supporters tried to find the place where Maksym had been taken to. After they learnt that he had been taken to Ivankiv jail they decided to organize another rally near Mezhyhirya demanding to set Maksym free.

The same day European Court of Human Rights made judgement in case of Vyerentsov v. Ukraine who was sentenced to three days of administrative detention for breaching the procedure for organising and holding a demonstration. The court made its judgement in favour of the citizen Vyerentsov and held that Ukraine was to pay the applicant 6,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

On April 12 at 8 a.m. Vasyl Gatsko sent a telephone message to Novi Petrivtsi village council notifying of the protest rally near Mezhyhirya. At 10 a.m. Democratic Alliance activists started a protest demonstration to Mezhyhirya. Within a few minutes a column of special units of Ukrainian police “Berkut” caught up with them and exactly at that moment a cortege which was probably carrying Viktor Yanukovych passed them by. In spite of the fact that Vasyl Gatsko demonstrated a notification of the rally which was issued according to the law, the police “invited” participants of the rally to the regional police office in order to draw up administrative offence reports. The protesters refused to get into the police cars and walked to the police station themselves.

Around 12 p.m. Demalliance members reached the local court to collect documents regarding the case of Maksym Panov and transfer them to the Kyiv Court of Appeal. Vasyl Gatsko came to the police office where he was forcibly held up till 5 p.m. While according to the law the police have the right to hold a person for not more than an hour to draw up an administrative offence report, Vasyl Gatsko was kept for more than 5 hours. And no one knows how long this lawlessness would continue, if the MP Lesya Orobets won’t determine on what basis they hold Vasyl in the office. After a few minutes of a tough talk with the police, Gatsko was transferred to the courtroom.

Meanwhile, other DA members were surrounded by riot police on the court porch and were not allowed to leave the venue without any explanation for more than 5 hours until the MP Orobets arrived. All the activists were charged with the administrative offense and fined each 170 UAH!

On April 13 the court sentenced Vasyl Gatsko the leader of Democratic Alliance to 5 days of administrative detention.

“The government is trying to frighten us through arbitrariness of the courts and the police. The challenge for every responsible citizen now is to prove Yanukovych that arrests will not make his life calmer. We will react to this actions and I urge all active citizens to fight against the regime together with us”, – deputy Chairman of Democratic Alliance Victor Andrusiv.


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