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MEPs call criminal proceeding against Medvedchuk an outrage

"Freedom of speech should always be sacrosanct, particularly when the freedom of speech is directed towards trying to solve what's been a problem,” William Dartmouth MEP says
13:58, 7 February 2019

Open source

Members of the European Parliament call the criminal proceeding of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office against Viktor Medvedchuk an outrage. Some MEPs consider it unacceptable to initiate a criminal case against a person on the basis of the person’s public utterances.

"Freedom of speech should always be sacrosanct, particularly when the freedom of speech is directed towards trying to solve what's been a problem. Certainly, it seems that the situation in Donbas is something which should concern everybody, any attempt to come up with the constructive solution should be applauded rather than being a recipient of threats,” William Dartmouth MEP says.

“If Ukraine wants to be an independent, democratic country that respects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of views, then they have to ensure the politicians of different political parties are able to express their political views both in parliament and outside. If prosecutors, if government decide that those views are unacceptable and we are going to use the police, the court to suppress that view, you are not in a democratic country. You are a dictatorship. And until your nation fully understands that you have to allow people of different views to exist, then that is a true democracy,” Steven Woolfe said.

Besides, the European Parliament reacted on the announcement of the ousted president Viktor Yanukovych who reported an assassination attempt against Medvedchuk being organized. Fugitive ex-president shared the information that a special group of 12 persons allegedly plans to physically remove Medvedchuk, who is the head of the Political Board of 'Opposition Platform-For Life'. This announcement caused concerns among the members of the European Parliament.

"Well, let me make this very clear. There are two completely separate things going on there. First of all, do I agree with everything that he says? No, I don't happen to agree with him politically. But when you disagree with someone politically, you disagree by talking, you disagree in the debate, you disagree by using your freedom of speech to say why to believe that the other is wrong. What is completely unacceptable is the use of the law to try to prevent opinions from being heard and it's, in particular, any means by which an attempt is made on someone's life. No, politics should abound, all the different opinions that exist. And if an opinion is bad, then it should be defeated properly in the debate, not through prosecuting that idea. And when you try to prosecute the idea you disagree with, actually quite often, you find that it doesn't work, it backfires on you and you end up making ideas more popular, not less," Jonathan Arnott MEP said.

As we reported earlier, Viktor Medvedchuk, the politician and the head of 'Ukrainsky Vybir' (Ukrainian Choice) political party faces prosecution in Ukraine. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office opened the case against him in state treason and encroachment on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The basis for the criminal proceeding is an application of the Ukrainian MP from the People’s Front political party. The criminal case opened against the politician for his proposals on settlement of the military conflict in Donbas by granting the region with autonomy and capturing that in the Constitution of Ukraine. Medvedchuk voiced the proposals at the All-Ukrainian Congress of the party on January 29.

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