One measure of a civilised society is how it treats its elderly, infirm or disabled citizens, particulary those who have served their communities with distinction.
In my previous blog I described how on Sunday law enforment officials stormed and tried to disperse a small tented protest camp in the centre of Donetsk. The 30 or so relatively elderly camp participants had worked on the clean-up after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. Some of those still alive had been staging a hunger strike since mid-November demanding better pensions. One of the protesters was killed during the police action.
'Unian' reports on how they continue to be scandalously treated. I've loosely translated some portions of their article:
Chernobyl protesters taken by ambulance straight from courtroom
Several protesting Chornobyl invalids are being tried in the Donetsk district administrative court. One of them, the head of the Donetsk Regional Organisation of Chernobyl Disaster Invalids, Nikolai Goncharov, was taken ill and driven away by ambulance.
Donetsk human rights activist Maria Oliynyk said that today, at 15.00, a clerk of the court came to the hunger-striking protesters' camp near the regional Pension Fund offices and handed a subpoena to the protesters ordering them to appear before the court at 16.00. The summons was filed by the State Executive Service.
About 20 disabled Chernobyl led by Goncharov came to court at the allotted time, but were forced to wait until 18.04 for the court hearing to commence.
Goncharov told the court that he was not familiar with the contents of today's subpoena, and said he had still not been handed the ruling of the Donetsk Regional Administrative Court of 23 November prohibiting of their protest action.
He also filed a motion requesting the court adjourn the hearing to a daytime session on any other day, as the current hearing only began after a two hours of delay, at the end of a normal court session. In addition, Goncharov asked for a postponement to the evening hearing because Chernobyl hunger strikers came to court without any lawyer council or lawyer. The court rejected their appeal.
According to M. Oliynyk, Goncharov was taken ill in court, and an ambulance was called.
The human rights activist said that the court would have continued to the hearing but was forced to declare a half-hour break, because the state plaintiffs had not provided the necessary documents referred to in his lawsuit.
Oliynyk described this court trial as: "Cruel maltreatment of the disabled. Bandit norms operate in Donetsk, where courts somehow sit at night. That's how it was when they ruled to prohibit the mass celebration of Independence Day on the streets, when they prohibited all protests, allegedly in connection with the threat of terrorist attack. And the current hearing is also taking place in the dark, " said the human rights activist.
Later another protesting Chernobyl invalid was also taken away by ambulance.
"This is inhuman, brutal treatment of disabled people who had to wait a long time, standing against a wall in the courtroom," said witnesses to the event.