Annual Report: Ukraine 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Ukraine 2011

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  • On 29 January, three plain-clothes police officers approached two Somali men, Ismail Abdi Ahmed and Ibrahim Muhammad Abdi, outside their apartment building, and asked them to produce their documents. The police officers then reportedly forced their way into the apartment, searched it without a search warrant, and punched one of the occupants. The police officers removed US$250 from the pocket of a pair of jeans belonging to Ibrahim Muhammad Abdi. Throughout the search, the police officers called the Somali men "pirates". On 13 February, two of the same police officers returned to the apartment. They told the Somali men living there that they wanted to film them retracting the public statements they had made about the search. The Somalis refused to open the door and, after several hours, the officers left.

Freedom of assembly

  • In May and June, peaceful demonstrators protesting the illegal felling of trees in Kharkiv were beaten by members of the "Municipal Guard" (commercial security guards employed by the City Council. Some were later refused medical treatment, including Liubov Melnik who was hospitalized after being beaten by "Municipal Guards". She was reportedly asked by Municipal Guard personnel to deny that she had been beaten by the guards, but had injured herself by falling. The hospital then informed her that there were no more beds and discharged her and, subsequently, three Kharkiv hospitals refused to treat her. On 2 June, demonstrators positioned in the trees were injured when loggers started to cut them down.

Demonstrators described how the police stood by while the guards beat protesters and journalists without intervening. On 28 May, between 10 and 12 people were detained for approximately eight hours by the police before being brought before a judge. Andrei Yevarnitsky and Denis Chernega were sentenced to 15 days' detention on 9 June for "malicious refusal to obey a law enforcement officer", although video footage of the events shows the demonstrators leaving with police officers peacefully.