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You're reading: Halya Coynash: Yanukovych’s nine Bankova prisoners

In a move which makes a farce of the recent amnesty law, a court in Kyiv has heeded objections from the prosecutor and refused to release Yaroslav Prytulenko, one of the 9 “Bankova Prisoners”, detained following the Dec 1 disturbances on Bankova St.  21-year-old Prytulenko is the youngest of the nine men whose detention on charges of organizing mass riots provoked outrage and 2 Amnesty International urgent actions.  He was also the least injured by Berkut riot police. 

None of the men detained bore any similarity to the masked louts who provoked a confrontation with interior ministry forces and five were so seriously injured by Berkut officers that they were brought to the court from hospital beds.  Neither these injuries, which in at least three cases were inflicted by Berkut on men lying on the ground, nor the lack of any evidence, prevented the judges from issuing near identical rulings remanding all men in custody for 2 months. 

Since those detained included one journalist, Valery Garagutz and eight people who seemed like any of the other peaceful protesters on EuroMaidan that day, the arrests appeared aimed at sending a clear message to peaceful protesters.

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