Heavenly Hundred families' lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska announced a hunger strike on November 21. She made such a decision because of an amendment to the bill on the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) that was not considered by Parliament. She intends to be on a hunger strike until the amendment is adopted.
Who is Zakrevska?
Human rights activist, a lawyer for the Heavenly Hundred families, defends interests of the family of murdered adviser to Kherson mayor Kateryna Handziuk, and those who suffered during the annexation of Crimea.
She became a lawyer in 2008, before that she worked as a legal adviser in various fields of business, in particular, in the media business. She also participated in Euromaidan.
At the end of last month, the Prosecutor General’s Office created a department of the procedural guide to criminal proceedings regarding crimes committed in connection with the mass protests in 2013-2014. As Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka told in an interview with LB.UA, he suggested Zakrevska head this department, but they did not agree on this proposal.
Viktor Mysyak was appointed the head of the department, Oleksiy Donskoy became his deputy. Both had previously worked at the Prosecutor General’s Office.
November 21, Zakrevska said on air of 1 + 1 TV channel that she went on a hunger strike until the resumption of the investigation of the Maidan.
“From today, I won’t eat until they accept this amendment, create a department and transfer these investigators there. I promise you,” Zakrevska said.
The lawyer believes that in order for the investigation to resume, the Verkhovna Rada must pass Amendment No. 318 to Bill No. 216 On the State Bureau of Investigation, which concerns the possibility of the transfer of Maidan investigators to the SBI.
The key points of the amendment
It would simplify transferring investigators of the department of special investigations, were involved in the affairs of the Maidan, to the State Security Bureau.
"There is a very clear criterion for those whom we ask to be appointed to the State Security Bureau under a simplified procedure - for at least 4 months to be included in investigative groups or groups of prosecutors in criminal proceedings that are transferred under jurisdiction to the State Security Bureau," Zakrevska wrote on her Facebook.
According to Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov, the parliament might consider the bill on the SBI on December 3.
“I don’t know whether they would be considered on December 5… I plan to continue the hunger strike until this amendment is accepted. I don’t know when it will happen and whether it will be accepted right away on November 15. But they did not do this. The question was not that someone was against the amendment but now agreed to it. The question was that they did not vote for it at all, ignored it," Zakrevska said in an interview with "24 channel."
So who is investigating Maidan cases?
The investigation was carried out by the special investigations department of the General Prosecutor's Office, which was headed by prosecutor Serhiy Horbatyuk.
Since November 20, 2019, according to the current legislation, the prosecution authorities have lost their authority to investigate criminal proceedings. On this basis, most of the cases of the events on Euromaidan should be referred for investigation to the State Security Service, as well as to the Security Service of Ukraine, the National Police, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
November 18, Roman Truba cases announced the creation of a unit in the State Security Bureau, which will investigate the Maidan. According to him, the investigators will begin to work after the Prosecutor General’s office has completed all the procedural actions and transferred the criminal proceedings to the State Security Service (SBU).
The Prosecutor General’s office specified that 50 proceedings regarding crimes committed on the Maidan in 2013-2014 will go to the State Security Service, 43 to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), and the rest to the National Police, SBU, and the State Tax Service.
November 27 is the seventh day of Zakrevskaya’s hunger strike. As a sign of solidarity with her, two activists went on a hunger strike on November 22: Mykhailo Sheketa and Mykola Kolorovych. On November 25, Lyubomyra Kepler, a member of Euromaidan, the witness of student dispersal at the beginning of the protests, activist Mykola Vygovsky, and director of the Parks and Recreation Department of the Dnipro City Council Maksym Muzyka joined the hunger strike.
The hunger strike of the Heavenly Hundred family lawyer was also supported by Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov. He noted that Zakrevska was a lawyer in his case and that the level of trust in her is extremely high. "This is not a gesture or a hype, this is the position of an indifferent person. And we all must support it – I mean not by refusing food, but for the president, government, and parliament hear us," Sentsov wrote.
Former acting Minister of Health Ulyana Suprun supported Zakrevska. “A lot of processes, decisions, and shifts in Ukraine become possible not because of, but contrary to. They become possible thanks to people who are dedicated and uphold justice, like Zhenya,” Suprun stated.
In the meantime, a flash mob in support of Zakrevskaya is gaining momentum in social networks. Users publish water containers and in the signature to the post urge to resume investigations of Maidan cases.