Friday, March 29, 2013
Selective use of justice used to break will of opposition [updated]
It was in the Obukhiv constituency in Kyiv, constituency no. 94, where some of the most blatant vote rigging in last autumn' parliamentary elections took place.
Party of Regions' candidate Tetyana Zasukha and her associates in the electoral commission, at a stroke, annulled almost 30,000 thousand votes cast at polling stations where her opponent, 'Batkivshchyna's Viktor Romanyuk, was according to independent polling, estimated to be well ahead.
Eventually Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission decided the final results were not 'safe' in 5 constituencies, including the result in constituency no. 94, and they were not approved. It is not clear when/if re-election will take place in these five constitutencies.
Romanyuk is challenging the result at the European Court of Human Rights.
Now Romanyuk is being hounded by the ruling authorities and is being sought in connection with 'an attempt to steal state property', even though this state property, remains in the hands of the state.
Romanyuk was detained in Italy late last week after the Ukrainian authorities placed him on the Interpol wanted list. His lawyers are confident the case against him is pathetically weak and he will be released in a week or two.
As I blogged previously, an opposition candidate from another of the five disputed constituencies, Arkadiy Kornatsky, is being severely 'squeezed'.
Vitaliy Klychko, leader of the 'Udar' party has complained several of his parliamentary deputies are also being pressurized by law enforcement agencies via their families, their business interests, in an attempt to make them compliant.
Selective use of the judicial system to break the will of the opposition is being systematically utilised by the ruling authorities.
Update - There are reports Romanyuk has been released from detention in Italy with 'no strings attached'..