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Ukrainian communist leader to challenge disbanding of party faction in court

July 25, 2014, 9:29 UTC+3 KIEV

The Kiev Circuit Administrative Court on Thursday began examining the Justice Ministry’s appeal for banning the Communist Party

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Ukrainian Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko

Ukrainian Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko

© ITAR-TASS / Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, July 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko said he would challenge the parliament’s decision to disband the party’s faction in Ukrainian courts at first and then in the European Court of Human Rights.

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) on Thursday voted to disband the communist faction. Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said, “The faction consisted of 33 lawmakers and when ten of them left, there remained too few of them for the faction to function. We have corrected a historical mistake and I hope that the communist ideology will never exist in our society again.”

Symonenko said “attempts by the political opponents to remove the Communist Party from the political stage will lead to nowhere… They will not intimidate us, and these statements [on banning the party] once again prove that they don’t want to see a different point of view.”

Former lawmaker Boris Bespaly, who worked in the previous three parliaments, said communist deputies could set up a new group as “they were not banished from the debating chamber”. “But if the party is banned, then this will call into question the communists’ participation in the incumbent parliament and in the new elections,” Bespaly said.

The Kiev Circuit Administrative Court on Thursday began examining the Justice Ministry’s appeal for banning the Communist Party. Judge Lyudmila Marulina adjourned the hearing until August 14.

In May, Turchynov asked the Justice Ministry to look into the Communist Party’s role in separatist activities and take legal steps, if necessary, to ban it.

This is not the first attempt to ban the Communist Party. In November 2013, a draft law banning Communist ideology in Ukraine was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) faction.

In March 2014, several draft bills suggested banning it for supporting anti-Ukrainian policies and separatism, including the May 11 plebiscite in the rebellious eastern Donetsk Region.

The Ukrainian Security Service also claimed that the party leaders had asked Russia to send its troops to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office and Security Service have opened 308 criminal cases against the Communist Party which is “suspected of supporting Crimea’s annexation and the creation of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics”.

Deputy Justice Minister Igor Alexeyev said “irrefutable evidence” had been presented to court proving that “both top leaders of the Ukrainian Communist Party and its local leaders acted in support of the separatist movement in eastern regions.”

The Communist Party founded in 1918 is the oldest political force in modern Ukraine. In 1991, it was registered as “a newly created political party”.

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