CIVIC APPEAL TO THE GOVERNMENTS OF DEMOCRATIC STATES AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS REGARDING POLITICAL PROSECUTION IN UKRAINE
Political prosecutions continues in Ukraine. There is growing evidence of dozens of high-profile criminal proceedings against opposition politicians and public activists. The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine and the State Bureau of Investigation have significantly intensified their actions in this regard. Suspects' defense attorneys have documented the bias of government investigators and systematic procedural violations.

Odessa activist Serhiy Sternenko has been the target of numerous (physical) attacks and threats from local Russian controlled criminals. He repeatedly reported the incidents to law enforcement officials. When assailants assaulted Serhiy, and while defending himself, he fatally wounded one of the attackers. None of the participants in the attacks on Sternenko has been prosecuted. Nor has the identity of those who ordered the attacks been established. Instead, the investigation focused on the accusation of Serhiy, who was forced to defend himself from the next attackers. By their actions, the police investigators have shown no interest in the attackers. Instead, they direct their efforts at convicting the Odessa patriot for alleged excessive use of force in saving his own life.

The three suspects in the murder of Pavel Sheremet, are still in detention, Andriy Antonenko and Yulia Kuzmenko are in police custody, and Yana Duhar is under house arrest. Investigators give no indication when they will submit the long pending case to the court. This unexplained delay is all the more disturbing since, on the day of the suspects' detention, at a special briefing to the media, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine identified the defendants as having planned and committed the murder. The representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs also appeared at the briefing and confirmed that they had indisputable evidence of the suspects' involvement in the crime. Also, President Zelensky appeared at the briefing on the day of the suspects' detention, putting political pressure on the investigation.

Some twenty criminal proceedings are underway against former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Poroshenko's lawyers have noted numerous procedural violations, including the State Bureau of Investigation, issuing official videos layered with false and defamatory information in the best traditions of Soviet propaganda.

These defendants are not alone, bizarre allegations against combat general Dmytro Marchenko, former People's Deputy of Ukraine Tetyana Chornovol, former director of the Institute of National Remembrance, and today opposition parliamentarian Volodymyr Vyatrovych are causing high alarm. Inexplicable searches by the DBR-SBI took place in the house of ex-minister Volodymyr Omelyan. Criminal proceedings against the People's Deputy of Ukraine Sofia Fedyna, civic volunteer Marusya Zvirobiy and journalist Serhiy Poyarkov for alleged threats to President Zelensky have become fodder for public ridicule and disgust. Politically motivated criminal prosecution of veterans are underway for their preventing Sivoho's infamous event, as well as against volunteers from the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance who have done much to strengthen state security.

These and other cases have all of the signs of prosecution for political purposes, as the bias of the prosecutor's office and investigative entities is transparent.

We have no confidence whatsoever in Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and First Deputy Director of the State Bureau of Investigation Oleksandr Babikov, their subordinate prosecutors and investigators. Their statements and actions systematically coincide with the remarks and public threats of Andriy Portnov against the participants of the Revolution of Dignity, volunteers, civic activists, and opposition politicians. In particular, Portnov has repeatedly publicly threatened prison and violence against Serhiy Sternenko, Petro Poroshenko, and other officials under investigation today. It is widely understood that Andriy Portnov, a high-ranking official in the Yanukovych regime, still retains extensive influence over many judges, investigators, and prosecutors. In this same vein, Venediktova is calling for reviewing the amnesty established for participants in the Revolution of Dignity. What is more, Babikov served as one of the lead attorneys in defending the interests of former President Yanukovych, convicted of treason.

There is little hope that the afore-mentioned criminal cases will lead to impartial and fair proceedings in Ukrainian courts. There is ample evidence of bias based on bail hearings, pre-trial investigations, and conduct of the prosecutor's office.

According to the Constitution, President Zelensky is duty-bound to protect the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens, first and foremost equality before the law and due process. While appearing to be watching the political persecution from the sidelines, there are many reasons to believe that the President is directly involved.

We call on the citizens and governments of democratic nation-states and international human rights organizations to take note of systematic abuses and to draw the attention of the Ukrainian leadership to the inadmissibility of violations of rights and political freedoms in Ukraine. We call on Ukraine's international partners to raise the question of the incompatibility of political repression with the Euro-Atlantic course officially declared in Ukraine's Constitution.

Signed by:

- Myroslav Marynovych, former political prisoner, member of the First of December Initiative Group.

- Yosyf Zisels, Chairman of Vaad Ukraine, Executive Vice President of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine, Chairman of the General Council of the Eurasian Jewish Congress, dissident and political prisoner of the Soviet regime, member of the First of December Initiative Group.

- Igor Kozlovsky, theologian, President of the Center for Religious Studies and International Spiritual Relations, a member of the First of December Initiative Group. a prisoner of conscience of the so-called "DPR".

- Volodymyr Vasylenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Representative of Ukraine to the UN Human Rights Council (2006 to 2010).

- Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky, Doctor of Science, Honorary President of the National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" (NaUKMA), member of the First of December Initiative Group.

- Fr. Bohdan Prah, Rector of Ukrainian Catholic University.

- Mykola Horbal, poet, former political prisoner.

- Yuriy Shcherbak, author, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine.

- Volodymyr Ohryzko, statesman, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2007-2009).

- Yaroslav Yatskiv, Academician of National Academy of Science of Ukraine, Chairman of the First of December Initiative Group.

- Leonid Finberg, Director of the Center for the Study of the History and Culture of Eastern European Jewry NaUKMA, Editor-in-Chief of the publishing house "Spirit and Letter".

- Roman Bezsmertny, political figure, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for Administrative and Territorial Reform (2005), Member of Parliament of four convocations, Ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus, representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup of the Tripartite Group on the Settlement of the Situation in Eastern Ukraine.

- Serhiy Kvit, Professor of the National University "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy", Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine (2014-2016).

- Danylo Lubkivsky, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine (2014).

- Mykola Ryabchuk, Honorary President of the Ukrainian PEN Club.

- Mykhailo Honchar, President of the Center for Global Studies "Strategy XXI", a leading expert in the field of energy.

- Anatoliy Podolsky, Director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies.

- Yaroslav Hrytsak, historian, author, Professor Ukrainian Catholic University.

Konstantin Sigov, philosopher and civic advocate, head of the Center for European Humanitarian Studies at NaUKMA.

- Volodymyr Yermolenko, philosopher, author, Director of Analytics of the Internews-Ukraine (NGO), Senior Lecturer at NaUKMA, member of the First of December Initiative Group.

- Eugene Bystritsky, philosopher.

- Andriy Levus, People's Deputy of the 8th convocation, President of Free People (civic NGO).

- Mykhailo Basarab, political scientist, Member of the Presidium of the Public Commission for Investigation and Prevention of Human Rights Violations in Ukraine.

- Alexander Skipalsky, Lieutenant General, Honorary Chairman of the Volyn Brotherhood.

- Valery Pekar, lecturer at NaUKMA Business School.

- Serhiy Vysotsky, journalist, People's Deputy of the 8th convocation.

- Yuriy Honcharenko, civic advocate, co-founder of the National Conservative Movement.

- Andriy Yusov, "School of Responsible Politics" (NGO).

- Vakhtang Kebuladze, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

- Mykola Kniazhytsky, journalist, People's Deputy of Ukraine.

- Oleksiy Panych, philosopher, translator, Member of the Ukrainian Center of the International PEN Club.

- Alexander Sushko, political analyst.

- Elena Styazhkina, historian, author.

- Dmytro Krapivenko, editor-in-chief of "Ukrainian Week" magazine.

- Dmytro Lykhoviy, journalist, editor-in-chief of the online edition "News".

- Vladimir Dubrovsky, economist, participant in the Revolution of Dignity.

- Victor Yelensky, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor.

- Myroslav Hai, civic advocate, head of the Peace and Co Charitable Foundation, veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

- Igor Alexandrovich Lapin, civc advocate, People's Deputy of Ukraine (2014-19), veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war - Aidar battalion,

- Oleksandr Ivanov, Chairman of Switch to Ukrainian (civic initiative).

- Serhiy Parkhomenko, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Donbas Speaks", Director of the Alexander Nikonorov Center for Foreign Policy Studies.

- Pavlo Bilous, a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

- Gennady Druzenko, co-founder and Head of M. Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.

- Rostyslav Pavlenko, People's Deputy of Ukraine.

- Mykola Marchenko, Candidate of Law, expert constitutional law.

- Sviatoslav Marynin, "Межа-Mezha" (civic movement).

- Yuriy Mindyuk, civic advoicate, Director of the Fund for Support of Democratic Initiatives.

- Gennady Boryak, Peoples Deputy. Director of the Institute of the History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

- Carl Voloch, blogger.

- Igor Magnovsky, Doctor of Law, expert in the field of public law.

- Vladislav Vasyl, journalist, media expert.

- Nestor Volya, socio-political blogger.

- Yaroslav Kit, lecturer Ukrainian Cathoic University.

- Oleg Berezyuk, Chairman of the Ukrainian Law Society.

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