Vasylkiv terrorists case
|Vasylkiv terrorists case|
|Date||24 August 2011 (Independence Day of Ukraine) By then the statue had been already removed.|
|Target||Statue of Lenin|
The Vasylkiv terrorists case is an alleged terror plot of three far-right activists ("the Vasylkiv terrorists") trying to blow up a statue of Lenin in the Ukrainian city Boryspil in August 2011. The statue was removed in June 2011. The three suspects were arrested on 22 August 2011.
Immediately after the three defendants were jailed for six years on 10 January 2014, violent clashes between the Ukrainian police and about a hundred protesters that had gathered at the courthouse broke out.
Following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, on February 24 they were released.
Alleged 2011 bomb plot
Allegedly Volodymyr Shpara, Ihor Mosiychuk and Serhiy Bevza had plotted to blow up statue of Lenin in Boryspil on Independence Day of Ukraine on 24 August 2011. Shpara, Mosiychuk and Bevza were arrested on 22 August 2011 by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), after the SBU discovered a home-made explosive device and extremist leaflets in the office of "Patriot of Ukraine" organisation in Vasylkiv in a premises owned by Vasylkiv City Council. Shpara, Mosiychuk and Bevza denied the accusations and accused law enforcers of planting the bomb and leaflets on them. According to SBU spokeswoman Maryna Ostapenko (as stated on 23 August 2011) "In addition to the explosive device, SBU officers also found a huge number of leaflets calling for extremist actions. The seized electronic medium containing a video showing schemes for blocking public institutions and producing improvised explosive devices, and one of the folders even contains videos of child pornography". Initially the SBU suspected a plot to detonate a bomb during the celebration of Ukraine's Independence Day in Kiev. Before the alleged plot was discovered the Boryspil City Council had voted to remove the (alleged target) Lenin statue. The statue of Lenin in Boryspil was removed in June 2011 by the city's authorities.
On 10 January 2014 the three defendants were jailed for six years beyond the two years they have already spent in pre-trial detention. Their defenders had stated that the crime never took place, that the statue had already been removed and police planted evidence to convict the three of a trumped-up charge. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine someone had thrown an unidentified substance in the judge's face during the pronouncement of the sentence.
Protests (on 10 January 2014)
The sentencing of the three suspected bomb plotters on 10 January 2014 sparked violent clashes between the Ukrainian police and about 100 protesters that had gathered at the courthouse in Kiev for the verdict. The clash between police and protesters lasted overnight until 2 a.m. on 11 January 2014. The protesters had denounced the prosecution of the three men as politically motivated and a show trial. After the verdict they blocked the courthouse exit in an attempt to prevent police from taking the three convicts to prison. After police had broken through the crowd protesters along the route then blocked the vehicles that attempted to transport the convicts by surrounding them with private cars and puncturing tires. More police buses with at least 400 riot police then arrived. The following clashes between police and protesters left dozens of people injured, including former Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko. (Who had arrived at the courthouse after the 400 riot police had arrived.) According to Lutsenko's wife Iryna her husband had been attacked by police as he tried to break up the violence. Lutsenko was hospitalised in an intensive care ward. According to MP from Svoboda Yuriy Syrotiuk over ten activists, several journalists and three fellow MPs and Svoboda party members (Eduard Leonov, Yuriy Bublyk and Pavlo Kyrylenko) were injured. According to Syrotiuk the Berkut riot police had violated official instructions and had hit people's heads. 20 Berkut were injured; one with a broken leg.
Reactions on protests
European Union and US officials condemned the violence against demonstrators. US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt stated “Yuriy Lutsenko will be remembered as hero of EuroMaidan" (for trying to intervene in the confrontation between police and protesters).
According to the Ukrainian authorities the verdict of 10 January had nothing to do with Euromaidan, but according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry "Some MPs, hiding behind their status as people's deputies of Ukraine, entered into a violent confrontation with police, blocked the courthouse and the roadway around it. At the same time, the results of a medical examination of those who suffered in clashes with the police reveal some facts of them being in a state of alcoholic intoxication. This also concerns one prominent opposition politician".
Ukraine's ruling Party of Regions condemned the "assault" on the court and accused Svoboda of "provocation". The party said in a statement on 11 January 2013 "It's perplexing that those who support European values, and a European path for Ukraine, support terrorists. The Party of Regions condemns any terrorist activities or plotting such activities".
- (Ukrainian) "Васильківським терористам" приписують намір підірвати неіснуючий пам’ятник Леніну Vasylkiv terrorists being charged with an attempt to blow up a non-existing monument, The Ukrainian Week (25 January 2012)
- Kyiv urges foreign diplomats to show restraint in regarding Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (13 January 2014)
- Dozens hurt as fresh clashes erupt in Ukraine, Euronews (11 January 2014)
- Ukraine ex-minister injured as terror trial protesters clash with riot police, RT (TV network) (11 January 2014)
- SBU opens criminal case against 'Vasylkiv terrorists', Interfax-Ukraine (23 August 2011)
- New Clashes Erupt in Ukraine After Trial, The New York Times (10 January 2014)
- Ukraine ex-minister Lutsenko hurt in clashes in Kiev, BBC News (11 January 2014)
- Lutsenko hospitalized as authorities face political fallout, Kyiv Post (11 January 2014)
- Twenty policemen injured in clash with protesters in Kyiv – Interior Ministry, Interfax (11 January 2014)
- Ukraine opposition leader injured in clash with police, Los Angeles Times (11 January 2014)
- Three MPs, over dozen activists seriously injured in clash with Berkut, says Svoboda, Interfax-Ukraine (11 January 2014)
- Ex-Ukrainian interior minister Lutsenko injured in clash with police, hospitalized – statement, Interfax-Ukraine (11 January 2014)
- Opposition leader Yuri Lutsenko injured in clashes in Ukrainian capital, CTV News (11 January 2014)
- Kyiv prosecutor opens criminal case on abuse of power by Berkut police in recent clashes, Interfax-Ukraine (11 January 2014)