Target: Viktor Pavlovych Pshonka, Prosecutor General of Ukraine
Goal: Impartially investigate claims of violence and victim intimidation against Ukrainian law enforcement
In the wake of mass protests in Ukraine, law enforcement has been using intimidation tactics to silence allegations of police brutality. Earlier in December, many peaceful protesters were brutally beaten after taking part in pro-European Union demonstrations. Though the government made assurances that the police violence would be investigated, several victims have claimed to have been intimidated by investigating officials.
In the early morning hours of November 30, 2013, riot police used tear gas and clubs to disperse protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square. As mobile phone communications were suppressed, they violently attacked a group of a thousand peaceful protesters as well as passers-by and journalists. Dozens of people were injured, seven of those requiring hospitalization, and severe head injuries were reported.
The following day, similar protests occurred on a larger scale. Stun grenades and smoke bombs were fired into crowds of protesters while women, journalists, and even hired security were beaten by police. That day, 165 were injured, with 109 hospitalized. Over 40 reporters and photographers were injured, some saying they were beaten despite repeatedly identifying themselves as press.
Victims are now revealing improper handling of their claims and blatant intimidation by appointed investigators. One victim was questioned for four hours about his involvement in the protests, while only a single question was asked about his claim of violence. Another two were refused a forensic medical examination to document their injuries. Others allege that investigators failed to recognize them as victims, and refused to formally list them as such.
The Ukrainian government must immediately end the pressure being put on victims of police brutality. Your signature will demand an impartial investigation into each claim of violence, as well as reprimand any officials involved in violence or wrongdoing.
Dear Viktor Pavlovych Pshonka, Prosecutor General of Ukraine,
During November 30-December 1, 2013, police violently cracked down on peaceful protesters in Kiev with tear gas, clubs, and even stun grenades. Over a hundred demonstrators were hospitalized, along with 40 journalists and additional bystanders and hired security personnel. The Ukrainian government promised investigations into allegations of excessive police violence.
Now, many victims are reporting being intimidated by investigators or having their cases improperly handled. One victim, questioned for four hours, was asked only one question about his violence complaint. Two were refused forensic medical exams and documentation of injuries, while countless others were refused formal acknowledgement of victim status.
There is no place for police violence at a peaceful demonstration, but when it does happen it should be investigated accordingly. I ask that an impartial investigation into each complaint be conducted, and any offending officials be reprimanded.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mac_Ivan via Creative Commons