Ukrainian nongovernmental organization says criminal case opened against it

UKRAINE-FREEDOM-PRESS  KYIV — A Ukrainian nongovernmental organization says the country’s Interior Ministry has opened a criminal case against the group, accusing it of money laundering. 

Center UA, which describes itself as an “active participant” in the ongoing antigovernment protests in Kyiv, said on February 8 that police last week questioned at least 10 people affiliated with the organization.

Oleh Rybachuk, the head of the organization, condemned the probe as “the continuation of systematic repression of authorities against civil society” in Ukraine.

“They are questioning about 200 people now. We have about 20 people working at the Center, both staff and nonstaff workers, but the police say they have about 200 people on their list who have some contacts with Center UA and whom they have to question as witnesses,” Rybachuk told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service.

“So we all are ‘witnesses’ now, and the intrigue is, who will be the accused.”

The group says its members actively campaign against censorship and corruption.

The executive director of Center UA, Svitlana Zalishchuk, criticized the criminal probe against the NGO as “pressure and intimidation in connection” with the group’s activities.

There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian authorities.

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