Court orders SBI to open a case against State Ethnopolitics leadership

06 December 2023 18:48
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Chairman of the State Ethnopolitics Committee Viktor Yelensky. Photo: interfax.com.ua Chairman of the State Ethnopolitics Committee Viktor Yelensky. Photo: interfax.com.ua

The authors of the lawsuit believe that the DESS leadership has been inciting hatred against the believers of the UOC for more than a year.

On December 6, 2023, the Pechersk District Court in Kyiv, reconsidering the lawsuit of journalists from the online publication "Dialog.tut", ordered the State Bureau of Investigation to initiate criminal proceedings against the leaders of the State Ethnopolitics for Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (incitement of religious hatred and enmity, humiliation and insult of the feelings of citizens based on their religious beliefs). This was reported by the publication's Telegram channel.

"Today, on the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, by the grace of God and with the help of the holy righteous Prince Alexander Nevsky, the Ukrainian Court recognized sufficient grounds to initiate criminal proceedings against the leaders of the State Ethnopolitics," the message says. "After all, it was they who, with a rude response to our petition signed by 25 thousand citizens, threw in our faces that they 'consider the UOC part of the Moscow Patriarchate.' What they consider us – let them now tell the investigators of the State Bureau of Investigation. Because it is precisely because of the criminal intentional actions of the leaders of the State Ethnopolitics that religious enmity against the believers of the UOC has been incited for more than a year, thereby undermining the foundations of national security."

As reported by the UOJ, on January 13, 2023, the chief editor of "Dialog.tut" Yulia Kominko posted a petition on the Cabinet's website demanding not to ban the activities of the UOC. The petition garnered the necessary 25 thousand signatures from citizens for consideration. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal instructed the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience to respond to the appeal. After receiving a response from the first deputy head of the DESS, Viktor Voynalovych, Yulia Kominko stated that the letter contained a gross violation of the procedure prescribed by law for responding to an electronic petition and "is a manifestation of contempt for 25,000 citizens of Ukraine who put their signature under the petition." Yulia filed a complaint with the Cabinet Secretariat. The head of the DESS, Viktor Yelensky, responded to it, stating that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church allegedly belongs to the ROC.

Yulia and her colleagues filed a complaint with the State Bureau of Investigation about the commission of a crime by the leaders of the State Ethnopolitics, provided for in Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. SBI employees ignored the statement. Journalists appealed their inaction in the Pechersk court, but the judge sided with the investigators. Then the "Dialog.tut" team appealed to the Kyiv Court of Appeal, and it returned the case for reconsideration to the court of first instance.

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