Ukrainian civil society, despite the repeal of the January 16, 2014 “dictatorship laws,” IS under attack. See this press release by the CHESNO movement (translation from Ukrainian by William Risch):
MVS Opens Case against Civic Organization Tsentr UA, Founder of the CHESNO Movement and Active Euromaidan Participant
The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVS) is conducting a criminal investigation (kryminal’ne provadzhennia) regarding the civic organization Tsentr UA under the article on “money laundering of funds acquired illegally.” Organization members found this out after they and their organization’s partners were approached en masse by policemen who asked them to give testimony or come to investigators’ offices. Over last Friday, the police visited at least 10 people; in addition, they know that they plan on questioning about 200 people overall. The investigation (provadzhennia) was begun on December 11, 2013, but it only became active now. All the people involved for the time being are being summoned as witnesses.
The members of Tsentr UA consider this criminal investigation to be a continuation of the regime’s systematic repressions against civil society. Oleh Rybachuk, leader of the organization, said that “the dicatorship laws have been repealed, but the regime’s dictatorial intentions to destroy active civic organizations is taking place in other forms.” He surmised that similar cases will be brought up against other organizations in the near future.
Tsentr UA is the founder of the CHESNO movement, and it has been responsible for producing the scandalous film about Mezhyhir’ia, “Open Access,” and its members have taken active participation in Euromaidan events. Organization members have also been cofounders of important civic initiatives: the “New Citizen” partnership, the “Stop Censorship!” movement, the coalition, “For an Honest Referendum,” and others. Also, Tsentr UA not long ago began a massive project investigating personal instances of corruption among all government officials, a project coordinated with journalists from Slidstvo.info and the “Svidomo” office. These materials, published for Ukrains’ka Pravda, concerned Minister (of Internal Affairs) (Vitaliy) Zakharchenko in particular.
Svitlana Zalishchuk, executive director of Tsentr UA, pointed out that “Tsentr UA regularly conducts an independent audit, including one required by Ukrainian laws on financial activities, and it takes pride in its transparency. We regard the criminal case as pressure and harrassment against us because of our professional activity.”
The members of Tsentr UA appeal to diplomats, international organizations, and human rights organizations, and Ukrainian members of parliament to look into this pressure being put on the organization and its partners through a criminal case investigation connected with the organization’s work and also call on Ukraine’s state organs to stop unjustified persecution of civic organizations.
Original link: http://chesno.org/news/1821/