A democratic country has to ensure the politicians of different political parties are able to express their political views both in parliament and outside. Steven Woolfe, Member of the European Parliament from the United Kingdom, a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, said that in his exclusive interview, condemning the criminal proceeding against Viktor Medvedchuk, the representative of the "Opposition Platform - For Life" political party. The MEPS commented on the criminal case opened against the politician for his proposals on settlement of the military conflict in Donbas, voiced at the All-Ukrainian Congress of the party on January 29.
“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.
Woolfe noted that he also faced the death threats because of his views.
“I have also had death threats. I understand what your politician has gone through. But my death threats – I’ve ignored, because they are on Twitter, they are on Facebook, they come through e-mail, to my office. We have a saying in England - sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. But what I don’t have in my country Is that I don’t have yet the police, coming to chase me because my views are different to that of the state,” he said.
The MEP said he is not acquainted with Viktor Medvedchuk, neither he can agree to his views, though he believes that politicians have to be able to have alternative views.
“I don’t know this politician, I don’t understand or have to agree with his views he is standing today. But what I do believe is that any country that demands itself to be a democracy has to fight for the right to the death for any person to have a different view and not use the court, the police or public violence and death threats to stop them having an alternative view. If you do that, you are a dictatorship. You are not a democracy,’ Woolfe added.
As we reported earlier, Viktor Medvedchuk, the politician and the head of 'Ukrainsky Vybir' (Ukrainian Choice) political party faces prosecution in Ukraine. Prosecutor General's Office has opened the case against him under two charges.
'On February 5, Prosecutor General's Office submitted the information about criminal violations committed by Viktor Medvedchuk, as filed by MP Andriy Teteruk (...). Viktor Medvedchuk, the head of the pro-Russian organization 'Ukrainian Choice - The Right of the People' and the Head of the Political Board of 'Opposition Platform-For Life' party made a loud statement during the party convention in Kyiv on January 29. He claimed that there's a need to create the so-called 'autonomous region of Donbas', including the creation of its own parliament and government - and the following legalization of such status in the Constitution of Ukraine. His plan foresees that the autonomous region of Donbas is created in the composition of Ukraine. He believes that such agreements on the status of Donbas may be reached within the Kyiv-Donetsk-Luhansk-Moscow format', Larysa Sargan, the spokeswoman of the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, wrote.
'Considering that, in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine Article 1, Ukraine is a unitary state, the territorial system is envisioned in Article 133 of this Law, as well as the fact that Russian Federation, by providing self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DNR, LNR) with live force, armament and other materials is carrying out aggressive actions against Ukraine, the proclamation of the concept of the formation of an autonomous region in Donbas promotes the legalization of the temporarily occupied territory contrary to the Constitution and assists a foreign state in conducting subversive activities against Ukraine, including information support.
Under such circumstances, in the actions of Medvedchuk V. there are signs of crimes provided for in Part 1, Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, - encroachment on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and Part 1, Article 11 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, - state treason. The Constitution of Ukraine legislatively enshrines the territorial system of Ukraine (art.133), which provides that Donetsk and Luhansk regions are administrative and territorial units within the state', she added.
The case materials will be handed over to the SBU, the State Security Service of Ukraine.