Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for the ‘Ukraine’ Category

Russia: Contract for Politkovskaya’s Murder To Be Worth $2 million

Posted by Info on 05/09/2011

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who was detained in connection with the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaja in 2006, has admitted involvement but said he was only a middleman, not the organizer of the crime.
He worked as a senior police investigator at the time of the killing, and said he ordered his subordinates to map Politkovskaya’s daily routines. He also admitted to having procured the weapon with which she was shot.

He named Chechenbusinessman Lom-Ali Gaitukayev as an organizer but not mastermind of the shooting. Gaitukayev is currently serving a 15-year jail term on unrelated charges of staging a failed murder attempt in Ukraine.
Gaitukayev has denied involvement, but said he estimated the contract for Politkovskaya’s murder to be worth $2 million. He has not been charged in connection with the case.

Gaitukayev contracted Pavlyuchenkov, former policeman Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, and three nephews, the Makhmudov brothers. Khadzhikurbanov and two Makhmudovs were tried for Politkovskaya’s murder but acquitted by a jury in 2009.
Pavlyuchenkov was charged Friday, but the plea bargain will allow him to avoid the maximum 20-year sentence for murder,.

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Concern At Detention Of Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko

Posted by Info on 14/08/2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have expressed concern at the ongoing detention of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

This ongoing criminal procedure underscores the urgent need for further judicial reforms in Ukraine, as current legislation seems to provide for the possibility that political decisions can be criminalised when a new administration does not agree with them.

“Any politically-motivated prosecution of former government members would be unacceptable. We call upon the Ukrainian authorities to ensure Ms Tymoshenko’s immediate release and to exercise maximum restraint in the context of the trial against her as well as other former government members.”

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EU: Lukashenko Is Not democratically Elected President of Belarus

Posted by Info on 27/04/2011

The European Commission refused to comment on the statement of the Belarusian leader about European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, as it does not recognize Alexander Lukashenko as democratically elected President of the Republic of Belarus. .

European Commission representative also said that Alexander Lukashenko voiced information about the condition, allegedly put forward by Jose Manuel Barroso, to participate in a summit at Chernobyl in the absence of the Belarusian leader.
European Commission spokesman Olivier Bally confirmed this position of the European Commission.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko criticized the refusal of European Commission President Jose Barroso to attend the conference on Chernobyl issues, if there would have been the President of Belarus. He named the European Commission President a swine, and said that Ukraine leadership is lousy.

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Ex-Ukrainian Leader Kuchma Suspected Of Journalist Murder

Posted by Info on 22/03/2011

Ukraine’s state prosecutor opened a criminal case on Tuesday against former president Leonid Kuchma for his suspected role in the murder of opposition journalist Georgiy Gongadze in 2000.

Georgiy Gongadze, who criticized Kuchma‘s leadership in the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, disappeared in Kiev on September 16, 2000. His decapitated body was found two months later in a wooded area near the capital.

“Leonid Danilovich Kuchma is suspected of power abuse and giving illegal orders to the country’s Interior Ministry’s officials, which led to the murder of a journalist,” first deputy prosecutor Renat Kuzmin said.

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UN: Israel Kidnapped Palestinian Engineer From Ukraine

Posted by Info on 13/03/2011

The UN agency said it believed Abu Sisi was abducted and illegally transported by Israeli security forces, perhaps with the aid of Ukrainian counterparts.

Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, went missing “under unknown circumstances” in the early hours of Feb. 19 after boarding a train in the eastern city of Kharkiv bound for the capital Kiev. He was in Ukraine applying for citizenship.

“What happened looks like a violent abduction and not a legal extradition or any other legal action on the part of authorities.

Abu Sisi’s Ukrainian wife, Veronika, 32, alleges the Israeli secret service Mossad carried out the abduction in order to sabotage a key electric power plant in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where he worked as a senior manager. She denied speculation that her husband may be wanted by Israel as a known Hamas sympathizer, saying he had never engaged in politics or any violent groups.

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Uzbek Authorities Seize Properties Of Ex-citizens And Those in Prisons

Posted by Info on 23/02/2011

Uzbekistan is not only imprisoning former Uzbek citizens who have given up their citizenship, but is also seizing their properties in the country. One of them is Yuriy Korepanov, a retired colonel of the Soviet army, who has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for “treason”.

Uzbek citizens who were living in Russia now had complained that their properties in Uzbekistan had been seized when authorities found out that they had become citizens of other countries.
For Exmpale Yelena Levenchik won a court case, bailiffs ignored the court ruling in her favour. Moreover, she was adviced better to go back to Russia.

The activist said her organisation had received many complaints about similar cases from people who moved to Russia and Ukraine and from political émigrés.

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PACE Names Nine States With Delays’ In Implementing Judgments Of EC

Posted by Info on 27/01/2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in its adopted resolution, based on a report by Christos Pourgourides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), the Assembly said structural problems in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine were causing “extremely worrying delays” in implementing judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The main problems were deaths or ill-treatment caused by law-enforcement officials, unlawful or over-long detention, legal proceedings which take too long and court judgments which are not enforced.

Other states with outstanding problems include include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzgovina, Georgia and Serbia.

In a separate resolution, based on a report by David Darchiashvili (Georgia, EPP/CD), the Assembly also denounced “blatant disregard” of the Court by some states which had ignored its clear instructions not to deport individuals who might be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. Such “interim measures”, usually involving failed asylum seekers or irregular migrants whose expulsion is imminent, are intended to give the Court time to consider their complaints. States should “fully comply with the letter and spirit” of these requests.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, EU, Georgia, Moldova, others, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine | Leave a Comment »

Watchdog Group: Freedom Slipped Worldwide In 2010

Posted by Info on 13/01/2011

Freedom House reported that 25 countries showed significant declines in democracy in 2010 with little serious resistance from the democratic world.
The countries declining in their levels of freedom were Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burundi, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hungary, Iran, Kuwait, Latvia, Madagascar, Mexico, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia.

The report’s survey of 194 countries and 14 territories around the world found that China, Egypt, Iran, Russia and Venezuela continued to increase repressive measures with little significant resistance from democracies.
The number of electoral democracies dropped to 115, the lowest level since 1995, after reaching a high of 123 in 2005.

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Uzbekistan + Russia Among Most Undemocratic Countries In EIU Index

Posted by Info on 27/12/2010

The Economist Intelligence Unit has presented its “The Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in Retreat” report, in which Uzbekistan occupied 164th place among the world’s most authoritarian regimes.

The EIU said that the world became less democratic in the review period. “The economic and financial crisis boosted some authoritarian regimes and accentuated existing negative political trends, most notably in Europe, both east and west.”

The report analysed the state of democracy in 167 countries on five key indicators: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Norway was named the most democratic country, followed by Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and The Netherlands. The USA and Britain came 17th and 19th respectively.

Russia came 107th behind Kyrgyzstan in 106th place in the group of hybrid regimes. Moldova (64th) and Ukraine (67th)
were listed in the group of flawed democracies, while Georgia (103rd) and Armenia (109th) were listed in the group of hybrid regimes.

All other CIS countries were listed in the group of authoritarian regimes: Belarus (130th), Kazakhstan (132nd), Azerbaijan (135th), Tajikistan (149th), Uzbekistan (164th) and Turkmenistan (165th).

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Wikileaks About Russian Tanks: Pirates Were Right

Posted by Info on 13/12/2010

Two years ago the news was published about the hijacking of the Ukranian ro/ro Faina by Somali pirates. The pirates were surprised to discover that the ship was loaded with arms, including 33 Russian T-72 battle tanks. The pirates claimed that the arsenal was headed for the regional government in southern Sudan. The governments of the Ukraine and Kenya vehemently denied that this was the case, claiming that the arms were intended to be delivered to the Kenyan military.

According to several secret State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks, the tanks not only were headed to southern Sudan, but they were the latest installment of several underground arms shipments. By the time the freighter was seized, 67 T-72 tanks had already been delivered to bolster southern Sudan’s armed forces against the government in Khartoum, an international pariah for its human rights abuses in Darfur.

Bush administration officials knew of the earlier weapons transactions and chose not to shut them down, an official from southern Sudan asserted in an interview, and the cables acknowledge the Kenyan officials’ assertions that they had kept American officials informed about the deal. But once the pirates exposed the arms pipeline through Kenya, the Obama administration protested to the Ukrainian and Kenyan governments, even threatening sanctions.

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Moscow Punishes Berlin – New Visa Requirements For German Citizens

Posted by Info on 09/11/2010

Moscow has introduced new visa requirements for German citizens in what smacks of punishment for Berlin’s opposition to eased travel rules between Europe and Russia.

The rules came into force on Nov. 1, coinciding with a visit by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to Moscow. Westerwelle’s delegation was surprised by the new rules, which had not been announced previously. “It came as a bit of a slap in the face,” the source said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The new regulations stipulate that visa applicants need to provide a guarantee of their willingness to return to their country of origin. (Maybe some Germans would stay in Russia?)Tourists have to produce an income or bank statement, while business travelers need to show documentation about their position, salary and purpose of travel.
The consulate said only that the rules were introduced “because of the principle of reciprocity.”
Germany, which has some of the most stringent visa rules among the 25 Schengen countries, has long required similar scrutiny from Russians, arguing that it is necessary to keep out illegal immigrants.

Moscow has been championing visa-free travel with the European Union since Spain launched an initiative to scrap visas in January. But other EU member states say Russia should not get any favors before visa-free travel has been achieved with other post-Soviet states like Ukraine and Georgia.
“There’s yet a long way to go” for a visa-free regime with Moscow.” said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Belarus: “Last Dictator Of Europe” Does Not Have Moscow Support

Posted by Info on 05/11/2010

On October 13 Presidential Chief delivered a clear message from Kremlin – that Russia might not recognize the results of the Belarusian presidential elections next month if they are not held in full compliance with Belarusian laws and international criteria for free and fair elections.
Moscow has a problem only with Lukashenko personally, and were that problem to be somehow removed (were Lukashenko to retire from the scene or suddenly come to his senses), wants to return to normal relations with Belarus.

Lukashenko, who is running for his fourth five-year term, responded to the Russian threats of not recognizing the legitimacy of his likely reelection by threatening to pull Belarus out of all integration projects with Russia and the CIS bodies. He also made the bad move of holding a meeting with Russian regional media on October 1, where he permitted himself some very humiliating and disparaging comments about president Medvedev personally and about his recent firing of ex-Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, crossing the line by meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.

The quarrel between the Kremlin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been going on since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s first presidential term, when the latter bluntly told Lukashenko to give up his country’s sovereignty and join Russia.
The quarrel reached a head during the energy conflict at the beginning of 2007, when Moscow raised the gas prices for Belarus and introduced import tariffs for Russian oil.
The current militant rhetoric is a culmination of the worsening relations between both countries. Dmitry Medvedev used the same methods to attack former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko for the latter’s anti-Russian stance in the summer of 2009.

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Impunity Poses Serious Threat To Press Freedom In Post-Soviet States

Posted by Info on 23/09/2010

Last Thursday marked the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping, torture and beheading of the Ukrainian internet journalist Gyorgy Gongadze. A delegation from the NUJ visited the Ukrainian embassy in London to demand a full investigation into his death and an end to “impunity” the persistent failure to pursue those guilty of crimes against media workers in the country.

On 11 August Vasily Klymentyev, ukrainian journalist disappeared and is suspected to be killed . Klymentev, the editor of the Kharkiv-based newspaper Novyi Stil, was well known for reporting on corruption amongst local officials.

There are parallels with the Gongadze case. Klymentyev’s history of criticising local prosecutors, those now responsible for finding his killers, has raised concerns that the investigation may not be taken seriously. Furthermore, current and former law enforcement officials are suspected of involvement, according to the internal affairs minister, Vasily Mogilev.

But Russia, Ukraine is to far not the only post-Soviet states where impunity is posing a serious threat to press freedom. In 2005, the murder of the outspoken journalist Elmar Huseynov was described as Azerbaijan‘s “own Gongadze”. Index on Censorship participated in a delegation last week demanding the prosecution of those responsible for his death.

More recently, the Belarusian journalist Oleg Bebenin was found dead just hours before he was due to meet Index on Censorship in Minsk. The authorities there have dismissed the death as suicide.

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Ukraine: Missing, Presumed Dead: Disappearance Of Journalist Deepens Fears

Posted by Info on 09/09/2010

As editor-in-chief of Kharkiv’s “Novy Stil”newspaper known for unearthing juicy scandals about corrupt local officials – Vasyl Klymentyev had many enemies and was rather cautious.

What happened next on that morning in early August is a matter of speculation. His family reported him missing the next day and Kharkiv police opened a murder inquiry. His friends are convinced he is dead, though so far there is no body. On 17 August a boy discovered his mobile phone and keys in a small rubber boat floating in a rural reservoir.

Klymenyev was a savage critic of local prosecutors who have now been given the task of finding his killers.
“Klymentyev was extremely persistent,” his friend Matvienko said. “I’m sure he’s dead. There is no desire to have a real investigation. We are returning to the same dark era as Gongadze.”

Klymentyev is a chilling symbol of how press freedoms are being curtailed in Ukraine seven months after the election of Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s new pro-Russian president. Yanukovych, his critics say, has set about reversing the gains of the 2004-10 Orange Revolution, in which newspapers and TV flourished. Reporters talk of a new era of fear and censorship.

Last week Kiev’s district court stripped two independent opposition television stations, TVi and 5 Kanal, of their licences.

In a report last week the Reporters Without Borders said broadcast media pluralism in Ukraine was being “seriously eroded”, warning of a “disturbing level of hostility towards journalists on the part of the authorities”, including “physical attacks”.
Ukraine’s apparent lurch towards authoritarianism… The first victims of authoritarian regimes are always journalists.

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Cancellation of Broadcast Licenses in Ukraine

Posted by Info on 04/09/2010

A Ukrainian court ruling from August 30 cancel broadcast licenses for TVi and 5 Kanal, two of the few remaining independent televisions stations in Ukraine. Executives from the television stations, as well as those involved in awarding the licenses, could face criminal charges, including possible jail time.

The deterioration of press freedom in Ukraine under President Yanukovych is especially worrisome as it portrays a retreat away from the significant gains experienced since the Orange Revolution,” said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House.

Over the past several months, there has been a rise in attacks on journalists, accompanied by a climate of impunity. Most notably, chief editor and reporter for Novyi Stil, Vasyl Klymentyev has been missing since August 11 and is feared dead. An unidentified witness in his case has also disappeared. Press censorship has also increased, including the banning of reports critical of the government and the restricting of editorial control.

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