PEN Ukraine Statement to Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights on Pavel Sheremet’s Murder

Published: 23.12.2019,  Views: 7906

Dear Mrs. Denisova,

We, who have signed below, express our solemn concern regarding violations of rights of the suspects in the case of Pavel Sheremet’s murder. We ask you as the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to take this case under your purview.

The murder of Pavel Sheremet in July 2016 is an atrocious and appalling crime. On every Ukrainian and foreign platform PEN urges to find and bring to justice the actual murderers and employers of the murder.

We paid close attention to the briefing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs from 12 December, in the course of which the suspects in Pavel Sheremet’s case were named, to the commentaries of representatives of Ukrainian authorities, as well as the to the trial, where preventive measures were applied to the suspects.

We are convinced that actions of the authorities demonstrated grave violations of the fundamental human rights principles, especially of the presumption of innocence, which is integral to human rights, the right to freedom, right to respect for human dignity and right to life in particular.

The declaration of suspects in the case during the briefing with the participation of the President of Ukraine, Prosecutor General of Ukraine and Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine transpired with grave violations of legal provisions. It may be seen as manipulation of public opinion with a view to create an impression that the suspects are indubitable organisers and executors of the murder.

The European Court for Human Rights underlines that the presumption of innocence applies to public statements with regard to the suspect. The higher the position of the public official who addresses the issue of the person’s guilt is, the more significantly it affects the society. Instead, the abovementioned actions of high officials violate this principle.

Furthermore, we are concerned about direct involvement in the case of the judge Serhiy Vovk, who is regarded as one of the most notorious administrator of politically motivated “justice” in Ukraine by a considerable number of civil society representatives.

PEN Ukraine seeks to defend freedom of speech and human rights in Ukraine, especially the rights of writers, journalists and other creative professionals. It is unacceptable that investigation of the resonant case of Pavel Sheremet’s murder, closely followed up by the Ukrainian public, contains violations of human rights and of legal procedure. Therefore, we call upon you, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, to look closely into the violations of human and citizen rights as soon as possible and to take this case under your purview.

*PEN Ukraine is one of 144 autonomous national PEN centres worldwide. It is a cultural and human rights organisation seeking to defend the freedom of speech and expression as well as promoting global cooperation between intellectuals. There are 119 members in the organisation.   

Signatories (the list is being updated):

Andriy Kurkov
Myroslav Marynovych
Mykola Riabchuk
Oleksandr Boichenko
Vakhtang Kebuladze
Volodymyr Yermolenko
Larysa Denysenko
Stepan Protsiuk
Kostiantyn Sigov
Olena Stiazhkina
Andriy Bondar
Oleksiy Ninkitin
Anastasia Levkova
Natalia Beltchenko
Oles Ilchenko
Tanja Maljartschuk
Vitaly Portnikov
Tetyana Teren
Petro Yatsenko
Gulnara Bekirova
Andriy Lyubka
Archbishop Ihor Isichenko
Ola Hnatiuk
Diana Klochko
Iryna Slavinska
Kateryna Botanova
Taras Luchuk
Pavlo Korobchuk
Petro Rykhlo
Iryna Vikyrchak
Oleh Kotsarev
Serhiy Zhadan
Artem Cheh
Halyna Coynash
Iya Kivа
Maria Halina
Myroslava Barchuk
Metropolitan Borys Gudziak
Natalka Bilotserkivets
Igor Kozlovskyy
Natalka Sniadanko
Volodymyr Rafeenko
Taras Vozniak
Andriy Pavlyshyn
Hlyna Vdovychenko
Serhii Plokhii
Anna Vovchenko
Oleksiy Panych
Alim Aliev
Pavlo Volvach
Yevhenia Chupryna
Anatoliy Dnistrovyi
Vasyl Herasymiuk
Askold Melnyczuk
Kateryna Kalytko
Marjana Savka
Sofia Chelyak
Oksana Kutsenko
Olha Luchuk
Victoria Amelina
Arkadiy Shtypel
Oleksandra Koval
Halyna Kruk
Yulia Musakvska
Alexander Motyl
Artem Chapaye
Victor Morozov
Mark Andryczyk
Vano Krueger
Volodymyr Dibrova
Yurko Prokhasko
Vitaliy Chernetskyi
Mark Belorusez
Marko Robert Stech
Kateryna Mikhalitsyna
Yuri Makarov
Volodymyr Kazarin
Oleksiy Sinchenko
Iryna Starovoyt
Romana Romanyshyn
Andriy Lesiv
Yuri Vynnychuk