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Thousands of Ukrainians at Verkhovna Rada demand authorities to stop pressure on opposition, repressions against Viktor Medvedchuk

Source : 112 Ukraine

Parliamentarians, deputies of local councils, representatives of regional organizations of the Opposition Platform - For Life party will take a word at the rally
17:22, 9 September 2021

Rally at Verkhovna Rada
Open source

On Thursday, September 9, a rally against pressure on the opposition is held at the Verkhovna Rada. Ukrainians are demanding that the authorities close an illegal case against the Chairman of the Opposition Platform - For Life Political Council, MP Viktor Medvedchuk, and stop persecuting the opposition.

Rally at Verkhovna Rada
Open source

Parliamentarians, deputies of local councils, representatives of regional organizations of the Opposition Platform - For Life party will speak during the rally. In addition, the protesters will remind President Volodymyr Zelensky and MPs of the anniversary of the Minsk agreement, which Ukraine refuses to comply with.

In addition, according to Ukrainians, grossly violating the rule of law, extrajudicially (through the decision of the National Security and Defense Council, although deprivation of media licenses can only be ruled by court decision), the Ukrainian authorities banned the broadcasting of three leading news channels - 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK. In an ordinary letter from the Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine and again without trial, the authorities criminally disconnected the broadcast of Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel, which united journalists from three closed channels, an hour after the broadcast began. Also, due to the illegal imposition of sanctions, the authorities have stopped the work of Strana.ua and Shariy.net agencies and they are under threat of destruction.

Rally at Verkhovna Rada
Open source

More than 3,000 people take part in the event.

On February 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on the imposition of sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK TV channels. According to the decree, which came into force from the moment of signing, sanctions were applied to TV channels for five years. This provides for blocking the broadcasting of all three TV channels.

On February 26, journalists of the TV channels illegally closed by President Volodymyr Zelensky united and created a new TV channel - Pershiy Nezalezhniy. The founders of the new media are a group of journalists who previously worked on the 112 Ukraine, NewsOne, and ZIK channels. However, within an hour after the start of broadcasting, Pershiy Nezalezhniy TV channel was illegally turned off under pressure from the authorities.

Earlier, on February 20, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky put into effect the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions against 8 individuals and 19 legal entities. Among them are three Ukrainian citizens - the politician Viktor Medvedchuk and his wife Oksana Marchenko and the common-law wife of the owner of the NewsOne, ZIK, and 112 Ukraine channels, Taras Kozak, Natalya Lavreniuk.

On May 13, Kyiv court chose the restriction measure for Viktor Medvedchuk, the opposition MP and Chairman of the Political Council of Opposition Platform - For Life party. On July 9, the court extended the house arrest of Viktor Medvedchuk until September 7. The lawyers of the politician stated about the recusal of the judge Serhiy Vovk right after the end of the court session. However, the court declined the appeal on recusal of the judge and prosecutor. On July 30, the Kyiv Court of Appeal refused to satisfy the appeal op the lawyers of Chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform - For Life Viktor Medvedchuk against the extension of the politician's house arrest until September 7.

The Opposition Platform - For Life responded to this legal arbitrariness, stressing that the political persecution of MP Taras Kozak has only one purpose: reprisals against independent media, 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels, and the destruction of freedom of speech in Ukraine. 

Commenting on the situation, Viktor Medvedchuk emphasized that his lawyers were fully prepared to appeal against the measure of restraint and they have evidence that refutes the prosecution's accusation and prove the illegality of applying house arrest to him.

Thus, the defense filed an appeal against the decision of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv on extension of the measure of restraint for the politician. However, on July 30, the Kyiv Court of Appeal denied it, despite the defeat of all the arguments of the prosecution.

Leading European politicians, international and Ukrainian experts and world media have criticized Zelensky's decree to shut down 112 Ukraine, NewsOne and ZiK TV channels.

During the last months, the world mass media, European politicians, and experts published over 80,000 materials dedicated to the persecution by Ukrainian authorities of the opposition and independent TV channels.

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