Called in for questioning activists was detained by the security service, accused of false reporting.
Kyiv, August 25, 2016. Yesterday Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detained a journalist and coordinator of the all-Ukrainian political movement against corruption “Under Control” in Mykolayiv region. He was invited as a witness, but later forced to give his phone and charged with allegedly false reports on mining Soborna Square in Mykolayiv on August 24. Oleh Derenyuha, the detained activist, believes that the detention is connected with his professional activities of a journalist and monitor. “Even if there had been a call from my phone, it would have been enough to ask the operator for a printout to prove it. I understand that the security services did not need my phone in order to see if I had called or not. They are not interested in the call itself, what they really want is to see my correspondence. I am an editor of a media outlet which is popular in the city. I have correspondence with MPs and local officials, politicians, police, judges, prosecutors. We follow a lot of high-profile cases of smuggling in ports, illegal mineral resources development, etc.,” explained the activist at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He added that during the Independence Day celebration no one noticed any signs of explosives in the square: there were neither dog handlers nor medical workers or police.
Lawyer Oleksiy Tkach stressed that Mr. Derenyuha had not been provided the necessary legal assistance guaranteed by law. “He was shown documents about allegedly opening of criminal proceedings against him. But there was no one at his side to say whether they were processed in a proper way. He could have been shown any document give any information,” explained the lawyer. According to him, this is not the first case in Mykolayiv region when a person is invited for questioning as a witness but then detained and interrogated for other purposes.
Viktor Taran, activist of the all-Ukrainian movement against political corruption “Under Control”, said that the movement unites 70 non-governmental organizations. The organization has offices in every region and analyzes work of local councils and officials based on Ukrainian legislation. “If there is a discrepancy between official actions and legal requirements, we say that, perhaps, it is an instance of corruption. We prepare personal files, because each instance of embezzlement has a signature of a particular official,” noted Mr. Taran.