January 16, 2014




Today theUkrainian Parliament – Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – adopted adraconian Law “On Introduction of Amendments to the Law of Ukraine“On Judiciary and Status of Judges” and to Procedural Lawsregarding Additional Measures for Protection of Citizens’ Security”(Draft Law No. 3879), by which it decided to punish the civilsociety and citizens of Ukraine for Euromaidan and mass protests, aswell as to degrade human rights in Ukraine.

Theadopted Law establishes significant restrictions on freedom ofexpression and mass gatherings. The Law introduces criminalresponsibility for the so-called “extremist activity”. Thus, anyperson can be brought to criminal responsibility if he or sheproduces, saves, and spreads documents that contain information ofextremist nature. According to the provisions of and special note tothis article, any person who posts historical information andmaterial, especially photos, letters or analytical article, risks tobe imprisoned for up to 3 years.

Apartfrom this, defamation is back to the Criminal Code of Ukraine againafter being decriminalized for the last 12 years. According to thelaw, any person in Ukraine can be brought to criminal responsibilityfor spreading defamatory information.

TheLaw also introduces significant fines for activities of Internet massmedia without their registration and gives providers the possibilityto block access to Internet sites. Providing service of access toInternet requires obtaining special license.

TheLaw restricts the right of citizens to collect and spread anyinformation about officials of the law enforcement agencies and thejudiciary. From now on, citizens will not be able to publish photosof luxury estates, cars and watches of judges and policemen, becausefor doing so any person can be compelled to the correctional labouror can be arrested for up to 6 months. Also, citizens will not beable to spread information regarding unlawful actions of the policeor public prosecutors because such activity will be qualified as“information of clearly offensive character” or as such that“demonstrates barefaced contempt of law enforcement agency officerand influences him/her in any form”.

TheLaw further degrades independence of the regulator in the sphere oftelevision and radio broadcasting by giving the right to Parliamentand President to dismiss members of the National Council of Ukraineon Television and Radio Broadcasting at any moment and, inparticular, if licensees would not be granted to the necessarytelevision and radio broadcasters.

TheLaw bans selling of anonymous cards of prepaid mobile communicationand obliges all subscribers to enter into official agreements withtelecommunication operators. This would allow for the totalsurveillance over all mobile connection users.

ThisLaw totally destroys the very remains of Ukrainian democracy andestablishes harsh autocratic regime in Ukraine. Adoption of thisLaw clearly shows that the state ruling forces plan to conduct tough andbrutal elections in 2015 and adopt legislation necessary to suppress the protests and to ensure that the incumbent government will stayin power.

Wecall on the Ukrainian civil society organizations to express theiractive protest against the adopted Law.