defend ukrainian community activists against repression!

from Liva Sprava comrades

On 27th July court hearings will take place on the case of Andriy Movchan and Sergiy Movchan, members of the independent student union “Pryama diya” (“Direct action”) and activists of the initiative “Save old Kiev”. They are accused of group hooliganism during a protest action.

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More than one year ago, 6th June 2008 the “Save old Kiev” initiative (a social movement struggling against illegal building) were conducting an action against illegal building on the site of public park at Umanska street. Activists together with locals were protesting against the destruction of a green zone and the privatization of public space. During the action people took down the fence around the building site in order to attract public attention to the inactivity and negligence of the authorities. For a long time beforehand local people had repeatedly tried to appeal against Kiev council’s decision about the allocation of land. But bureaucrats gave us the run-around. Even when the city prosecutor ruled that it was illegal, the building work continued. That was the reason for the radical action.

Half of hour after the end of action, brothers Andriy and Sergiy Movchan were brutally arrested by police. Without any explanation they were brought to the police station in Solomenskiy district and accused of defiance of police. The next day they were secretly brought to court and ordered to pay an administrative fee. The ombudsman Nina Karpachova recognized the SOK action legal and helped to dismiss the activists as fast as possible; but several months later the police started criminal proceedings against Andriy and Sergiy.

The police report says that the brothers together with a group of others “with motives of evident contempt for society” committed acts which the inquest determined to be hooliganism. Also it is said that the aim of activists was “to oppose themselves to society and to show disrespect for its moral values”. On this basis the brothers are threatened with 5 years imprisonment.

The members of initiative “Save old Kiev” declare that this criminal prosecution of their comrades is a simple case of repression of activism by citizens.

“With the help of direct actions we already achieved abolition of the barbaric illegal buildings many times. In this way Peyzazhna alley was saved and the demolition of Zhovtneva hospital was stopped. In addition, developers already tried to repress participants in the protest at Gonchara street where the fence was also disassembled. But the court admit protesters were right”, Save old Kiev stated

SOK activists believe that the action at Umanska street was aimed to protect community interests and took place without law-breaking. “This is developers, who show their disrespect to society, who take it on themselves to privatize public property, cut down parks, build on playgrounds and destroy landmarks”, activists commented.

On 27th July in front of the court in Solomenskiy district (1, Shutova Street) a solidarity action will take place to support Andriy and Sergiy Movchan. The trial starts at 10:00.

Independent student union “Direct action” and initiative “Save old Kiev” call all those who care about this case to show their solidarity with the defendants and not to allow repression against community activists!

Independent student union “Direct action” and Initiative “Save old Kiev”.

Send the attached protest letter via fax to the Ukrainian court where the trial will take place! Just write your organization’s name under the message attached and fax it to +380 44 456 93 08