The Security Service of Ukraine has recently been intimidating people, and this has become even more vivid ahead of the presidential election. The service's officers are hunting for opposition activists and interfere into church and even language affairs.
The US Department of State has recently published a report on human rights in 2018 in which much attention is paid to the situation in Ukraine. According to the report, there are problems in many spheres. Here is an incomplete list of violations that the report covers: pressure on media, illegal arrests, nationalistic attacks, and violation of rights of migrants.
The Department of State noted that the Kyiv authorities "regulate" information that they consider as a threat to national security, especially information that is viewed as "pro-Russian." The Security Service of Ukraine is accused of illegal interference in private life of citizens, their family affairs and violations of rights to inviolability of houses and communication.
It is said that the Ukrainian special services have many times got access to private communication and controlled the movement of people without relevant legal mandate. In line with the law, the Security Service of Ukraine doesn't have the right to conduct surveillance activities and searches without court orders, but this legal provision is breached.
According to the report, the Security Service of Ukraine is also involved in kidnappings. People were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to a building, basement or garage, where they were beaten up, raped and where executions were imitated. They were all forced to confess to cooperating with Russia's Federal Security Service or "separatists."
"Today, every force that President Petro Poroshenko has is engaged in battle. We see that even the Ministry of Interior Affairs that is out of the president's control very often launch bogus things that contradict Poroshenko's interests. Here is the electoral campaign that Ukraine now has; here is the state that Ukraine now has.
Every person who takes up a high-ranking position actually creates his own security system that contradicts other systems. Poroshenko as president controls state security services that he uses to attack his opponents," International Humanitarian and Political Studies Institute expert Vladimir Bruter told an Inforos correspondent.
The expert said that officers of the Security Service of Ukraine who fulfill Poroshenko's orders are afraid of consequences of their actions. However, having come to service, they assume the obligation to serve the president. This means they will fulfill his orders.
"As for human rights, more than 10,000 people have died in Ukraine over the past five years and about 10 million were forced to leave the country. That is why present-day Ukraine and human rights are on the opposite sides of the political table, conscience and political practice. Ukraine is not a place where human rights can be protected. And the Vyshinsky trial that is underway today is an example of that. The man, who heads a legal information organization, is thrown to a prison cell as a hostage. Human rights are not an issue here," Bruter said.
The future of RIA Novosti Ukraine editor-in-chief Kirill Vyshinsky, whom the Security Service of Ukraine detained in May 2018 on high treason charges for support of the Donbas people's republics, regretfully, is not the only sad example. Kharkiv city parliament member Andryi Lesik has been under constant pressure over the past few years.
A concocted criminal case against him was opened in November 2017, when the Security Service of Ukraine started a hunt for the opposition activist for his reposting allegedly separatist calls on his social network page in spring 2014. According to Ukrainian media, Lesik said that the criminal regime came to reign in Ukraine and spoke for preserving historical and economic ties with Russia.
"They tried to make me sign papers, literally twisting my arms and strangulating me, refusing to provide urgent medical assistance. I want to stress that previously I didn't believe that officers of the Security Service of Ukraine could torture people until I came across that myself," Lesik said.
The Security Service of Ukraine searched premises of writer Oleh Slepynin. He is charged with posting critical articles about the tomos. "The special services officers established that a resident of Cherkassy wrote at the order of Russian supervisors materials condemning and giving negative assessment of the creation of Ukraine's local church and the decision to grant the tomos," the press service of the Security Service of Ukraine said. Of course, no evidence was provided. Regretfully, there are hundreds of similar examples in present-day Ukraine.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet prepared a report last week on the human rights situation in Ukraine ahead of the election. The report states that there is "atmosphere of intimidation" in Ukraine and that violence was growing there since January 2018 to January 2019. Regular attacks on civil activists have become a worrying trend.
Today, Ukrainians tend not to discuss socially important issues and not to express dissatisfaction with the authorities' actions in public. And this is no surprise, since now Ukraine rather freely interprets the Criminal Code provisions regarding terrorism, high treason and encroachment on the country's territorial integrity.
In fact, anyone can be accused on anything without any evidence now. People, seeing injustice and violation of their rights, mistrust and awe the authorities and security agencies. All these things undermine the Ukrainian society and deprive it of hopes to life in a country that is governed by the rule of law and democracy.