General Prosecutor’s Office and Security Service of Ukraine want to deprive me of my profession – lawyer Veremiienko

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) is concerned about the prosecution of lawyer Oleh Veremiienko by the General Prosecutor’s Office.

As reported in the UHHRU statement.

On February 20, 2017, Yuriy Stoliarchuk, Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine, declared Oleh Veremiienko as a suspect in resisting a law enforcement officer (Part 2 of Art. 342 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and committing impact on a law enforcement officer (Part 1, Art. 343 of CCU).

Oleh Veremiienko told the Human Rights Information Centre about the search of the office of Chudovskiy and Partners on September 1, 2016.

On that day, investigators of the General Prosecutor’s Office wanted to seize two computers without the sanction of the court.

“They only had sanction to search the office, they were looking for paper carriers for a certain firm. When they said that they were seizing two computers I said to them: “Show me the court’s decision. According to the law “On the Bar and Practice of Law” there is attorney-client privilege and you cannot violate it”, - said Oleh Veremiienko.

However, employees of the General Prosecutor’s Office ignored his explanations and began to pack computers.

“I then saw the composition of the crime and therefore stated that I will detain them in accordance with Article 207 of the Criminal Procedural Code (“Lawful comprehension”) and called the police, while not even touching anyone”, - the lawyer said.

“The practice of the European Court of Human Rights dictates that lawyer’s computers can be seized only if there is a court order where it is written that lawyer’s computer will be seized. And lawyer’s union must be present to prevent leakage of information. But this did not happen”, - added Oleh Veremiienko.

Moreover, according to him, employees of the General Prosecutor’s Office Oleksiy Nechiporenko and Ruslan Kozyura did not have the authority to conduct a search in the office that day.

“They were illegally searching the office. Court issued a search warrant and allowed to search only for Yuriy Stoliarchuk. But he did not come, because he is a big fish. At that time he was working on the case of Ivanyushchenko (Yuriy Ivanyushchenko, former deputy of the Party of Regions political party, is accused of organizing embezzlement of property of another and of illegal enrichment on a particularly large scale – ed.). However, those two were not authorized to conduct a search”, - said the lawyer.

Oleh Veremiienko wrote a complaint about the crime. National Police said that they transferred the materials to the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office, but they were lost there.

“Still they cannot find them”, - said Oleh Veremiienko.

The lawyer believes that that the inspiration for his persecution is the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). According to him, SBU does not like that he defends Colonel Ivan Bezyazykov, whom law enforcers accuse of participating in a terrorist organization.

“They decided to take my profession away from me. They will not imprison me, but they will take my lawyer’s license so I could not protect the colonel”, - he said.

“Ruslan Kozyura has conducted a search in Dnipro. He directly told the lawyers that if they try to resist during the search, then they will be treated like Veremiienko. This is exemplary punishment”, - he sums up.

Meanwhile, The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has decided to support this case and to follow its development because it violates a number of important issues related to the possibility of defense (lawyers) to perform their professional duties without risk to be subject to unreasonable harassment by law enforcement authorities.

The UHHRU indicates that the lawyer’s complaint about a crime has not yet been investigated.

“We believe that in order to achieve the objectivity of the investigation the issue of legality of lawyer Veremiienko’s actions and the issue of legality of actions of the investigators during the search, which led to the lawyer’s actions, should be solved”, - said in the statement of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.

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