Halya Coynash: Three Ukraine activists not seen since Nov. 30 police attack believed dead


The police have acknowledged that three young people – Oleh Brovko, Inna Grigoryan and Anatoly Shynkaruk – who have not been seen since the violent dispersing by Berkut riot police of peaceful protesters on Nov 30 are probably not alive.

Opposition MP Hennady Moskal reports that the police have responded to his MP’s information request regarding people who have not been seen since Berkut riot police violently stormed the peaceful EuroMaidan protest on Maidan Nezalezhnosti at 4 a.m. on Nov 30.

Moskal gave 29 names.  The police response says that the whereabouts of 26 people have been established, leaving three unaccounted for.

The Shevchenkivsk district prosecutor’s office has formally initiated criminal proceedings over suspected homicide (Article 115 ¶ 1 of the criminal code). The police letter is dated Dec 13, 2013, and seems to have taken a long time reaching Moskal, unless the latter put off making it public.

The three people, all young and seemingly from Lviv are:

Oleh Brovko

Inna Grigoryan

Anatoly Shynkaruk

Berkut riot police appeared on Maidan Nezalezhnosti at 4 a.m. and began attacking peaceful protesters, many of whom had been fast asleep. The officers used truncheons, beat and kicked activists quite indiscriminately.  At least 100 people were injured, some seriously.

It now seems likely that three were killed.

Secrecy over the whereabouts of others injured during the violence as well as pressure placed on medical staff to conceal information about their injuries give grounds for suspecting that the police know exactly what happened to these three young people.
If this is the case, then it is more than likely that the Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka also knows, making his attempts to conceal the truth about the events on Nov 30 and who was behind them particularly reprehensible.

The use of Berkut officers was in itself unlawful since these specially trained forces are supposed to be deployed only where there is a risk of real resistance, etc.  They must not be used against peaceful protesters.

A further aspect was again highlighted during the evening of Jan 10 when Berkut officers beat up Yury Lutsenko, former Interior Minister and, later, political prisoner when he and protesters tried to force the Berkut men to show their identification and uncover their faces.

The authorities are deploying special force units against civilians and creating a situation of dangerous impunity since the men carrying out criminal orders are themselves protected from view and do not expect to answer for their deeds.

Three young people disappeared after Berkut officers were unlawfully set loose on a few hundred peaceful activists, most of them young students.  The police would have said nothing, had they not been forced to answer a direct question from an MP, while both the Prosecutor General and Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko have consistently misled parliament and the nation regarding the events on Nov 30.  They also assume that they need not answer for their actions.

Perhaps it is time for those who have recently threatened sanctions to demonstrate that this is not the case.

Halya Coynash is a member of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group and this article can be found here. 

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