We express our deep concern regarding the harassment of civil society and political activists by the secret services of the Republic of Ukraine.
We stress the need for reform of the security services, especially the abolition of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)’s right to conduct normal criminal investigations, referred to in Assembly Resolution 1755 (2010).
The detention of a large number of opposition politicians, former members of government, on essentially political charges is unacceptable: past legal policy decisions, irrespective of their quality, are de facto criminalised. The investigation of policy decisions is strictly the prerogative of parliament.
In a democratic society, both government and opposition should be free to express themselves nationally and internationally. Travel restrictions imposed on a large number of major opposition figures based on questionably charges is unacceptable in a genuinely democratic society.
The current Ukrainian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers makes it incumbant upon Ukraine to lead by example in meeting the highest standards. If this were the case, leading opposition politicians like Mrs Yulia Timochenko should be free to travel to Strasbourg for the Assembly Session.
We call upon the Monitoring Committee rapporteurs to prioritise these issues during their upcoming visit and to report back to the Assembly.