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Official says Ukrainian authorities crack down on dissent

July 06, 2016, 17:59 UTC+3 KIEV

The leader of the Ukrainian Choice movement comments on criminal prosecution of the leader of the Slobozhanshchina movement, accused of encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity

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Leader of the Ukrainian Choice movement Viktor Medvedchuk

Leader of the Ukrainian Choice movement Viktor Medvedchuk

© Alexei Druzhinin/TASS

KIEV, July 6. /TASS/. Criminal prosecution of the leader of the Slobozhanshchina movement, Alla Alexandrovskaya, is politically motivated and testifies to a crackdown on dissent in Ukraine, leader of the Ukrainian Choice movement Viktor Medvedchuk said on Wednesday.

"The authorities are cracking down on dissent," he said. "The case of Alexandrovskaya is politically motivated. And this is direct evidence that discrimination against citizens for political reasons is observed in Ukraine. It is necessary to state the obvious fact: the authorities that call themselves democratic today declared a war on any manifestations of freedom of thought and dissent and are prepared to use the dirtiest methods against the political opponents."

Commenting on the opening of a criminal case against 67-year-old Alexandrovskaya over "encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity" and "bribing an official," Medvedchuk said that the "Security Council of Ukraine (SBU) has decided to put a ‘corruption complexion’ on the legitimate desire of citizens to engage in dialogue with the government."

The Ukrainian Choice leader also said that representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine considered a crime the very fact of an appeal of the city of Yuzhny in the Kharkov region with a request to "consider proposals on amending the Constitution of Ukraine regarding the appointment of the heads of local state administrations through elections." "As you can see, federalization is out of the question here, because in almost all democratic countries of the world, including in such classical unitary state as France, the regional leadership is not appointed, but elected by the local communities," the politician said.

"But even if the document was about federalization, there were no reasons for prosecution for a formal appeal to the subjects of legislative initiative with a proposal to consider any changes to the Constitution."

According to Medvedchuk, such appeals are the natural instrument of the rule of the people in a democratic state. "Discussions on the country's form of government are not only acceptable in a democratic society, but also are an integral part of citizens’ rights to freedom of thought and expression, guaranteed by Article 15 of the Constitution of Ukraine", he said. And Article 5 of the Ukrainian Constitution says that "the right to determine and change the constitutional system in Ukraine belongs exclusively to the people", the politician said.

Leader of the Slobozhanshchina movement Alla Alexandrovskaya was detained by the Security Service of Ukraine on June 28. She was charged with "encroachment on Ukraine’s territorial integrity" and "bribing an official." The Slobozhanshchina movement calls for the adoption of the law on a special area of development in the Kharkov region. On May 9, more than 25,000 citizens signed a petition in support of the creation of a special area in the Kharkov region.

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