Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hundreds Protest Against Police Brutality In Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Hundreds of protesters across Ukraine joined rallies against police brutality amid investigation of a recent rape and attempted murder allegedly committed by two police officers.

Internal Affairs Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko.

The rallies in Lviv, Chernihiv, Poltava, Ternopil, Zhytomyr and Kirovohrad increase pressure on Internal Affairs Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko to step down.

The developments come as President Viktor Yanukovych, joined by government ministers, regional governors and political allies, was celebrating his 63rd birthday at a state residence in Crimea.

The rape case galvanized people, propelled by widespread belief that corruption, lawlessness and the impunity of government officials has increased markedly since Yanukovych came to power three years ago.

The popular anger spreading throughout the country may pose a serious political challenge to Yanukovych, who is expected to seek reelection to a second five-year term in office in March 2015.

In what may be an attempt to minimize these challenges, Yanukovych last week said he will “not tolerate impunity,” especially among police officers if they are proven to have committed the crime.

Meanwhile, investigators confirmed on Tuesday that blood samples recovered from a car used by the police officers match those of the victim, Irina Krashkova.

The report supports the allegations that the police officers have been involved.

The 29-year-old woman says she was carjacked, raped, savagely beaten and apparently left for dead by the two police officers and an accomplice.

Police and local authorities first tried to cover up the case, but were forced to arrest the suspects last week as hundreds of residents in Vradiyivka stormed local police station, throwing fire bombs and smashing windows.

“This government understands only force,” an activist said at a rally in Lviv.

“When we come out in thousands they will not arrest us.”

“These bandits, these monsters in uniform, destroy everything human,” the activist said.

“We should make the land burning under their feet.” Dmytro Yefimenko, deputy prosecutor in the Mykolayiv region, on Tuesday said the investigators made progress in tracing the blood samples in the police car.

“In what supports the case against the suspects in the Vradiyivka case, the blood of the victim was found in the car of one of the suspects,” Yefimenko said in a statement.

“This has been confirmed by forensic tests.”

Source: Ukrainian Journal

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