Beyond the limit

Roman ZVARYCH: This is a blatant violation of human rights and the Criminal Code

It has grown into a tradition with Ukraine, to fling mud on your political opponents as soon as an election campaign starts. On the eve of the last election, we were treated to the so-called pedophiliac scandal. The upcoming election also has a huge heap of dirt in store for us. It turns out that Ukrainian politics abounds in unlimited baseness and meanness.

This time it was Oleh Liashko, member of BYuT, who fell victim to it. A scandalous video appeared on October 5 at 1:57 p.m. on YouTube and instantly became one of the hottest topics on the net. The video is dated September 15, 1993, and features an interrogation conducted by Oleh Matvieiev, investigator for the city prosecutor’s office. Liashko is termed as the accused. The entire interrogation boils down to describing Liashko’s relationship with a certain Borys.

It was a very apt choice of target. Our society is mostly homophobic. The more so when it comes to public persons. Liashko appears on the screen quite a lot, and he often speaks at parliament sessions. He is one of BYuT’s most brilliant speakers. However, this time the attempt to smear an opponent’s image has gone way too far beyond the limit. You have to do justice to Liashko’s courage. This is the sort of challenge anyone would have trouble getting over. Many forecast that he would hide from gossip somewhere in the country, but Liashko came to the Verkhovna Rada. No one shrank from him. On the contrary, MPs offered their support – even his arch rivals did.

“I came up to say hello and offer my moral support,” told The Day Mykhailo Chechetov, MP for the Party of Regions. “Such things must never be done. Really never. I think someone went beyond the limit on Wednesday. This does credit to no one. They think they are flinging mud at someone, but in effect, they fling mud at the nation.”

Roman Zvarych, ex-minister of justice, qualifies this incident as a criminal breach of trust.

“It is not evidence that you can come across somewhere in the street. This is a video recording of a procedural action. That is, there was an interrogation. The materials of a criminal case, in accordance with the law, must be preserved in secrecy. And suddenly, on the eve of the election, they pop up on a web site. And everyone has an opportunity to watch them. This has got to be taken for what it is – a crime. And of course, someone must be held responsible for it.”

Who might have got access to this video?

“If I am not mistaken, it is only the public prosecutor’s office that has access to such materials. The case was brought in by the public prosecutor’s office. It should have stayed inside. This is a flagrant violation of both human rights and the Criminal Code. The culprits must be punished.”

The Day was informed that Liashko even was anxious to hold a press conference. However, later he confined himself to a public statement which said, “I have been involved in politics for years. I am thick-skinned and strong-willed, yet I cannot say that yesterday was easy to survive. However, as they say, what does not kill us, makes us stronger.

“In my opinion, even in the gutter there have to be some watch buoys which should not be crossed.”

Unfortunately, there can be no doubt as to the authenticity of the video material. However, it does not matter if the video is authentic or fake.

The main issue is, who is the author of this leak. Who has got access to the archives of the court, SBU, police, and public prosecutor’s offices? Hennadii Moskal suggests that Liashko address an inquiry to the prosecutor’s office to find out who was given copies of the materials in his case, and by what right it was done.

And one more thing. The fathers of the scandal have opened Pandora’s box. Any politician can now stand in Liashko’s shoes. Quite probably, tomorrow the moral accusers’ dirty linen will be exposed to the public. And there can be no doubt that it is far from impeccably clean.