Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The religious community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate – ed] in the village of Ptichya in the Rovno region filed a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights about the actions of the Ukrainian authorities vis-a-vis the illegal arrest of its temple.
The community confirmed its ownership of the building of the temple and won all national court proceedings, however the use of the temple was actually blocked by the government, reports the Information-Educational Department of the UOC-MP with reference to human rights activists.
The complaint was filed with the assistance of the NGO “Public Legal Aid”.
Lawyers substantiated the claim by the state of Ukraine’s non-fulfilment of its duty to protect human rights on its territory.
Human rights activists emphasise that the community of the UOC-MP won all proceedings initiated by their opponents, therefore the state system transferred the dispute to criminal proceedings, having deprived believers of the opportunity to use their temple by arresting it.
Believers repeatedly sent to courts of different instances claims for the removal of arrest from the building of the temple, but the courts refused to satisfy such claims, except for the only decision of April 2nd 2018, when the illegal and politically motivated arrest was removed from the building.
However, on the same day an assault was committed against the building of the temple, and it was captured by armed people, at the same time the police didn’t take measures to protect the owner, didn’t free the temple, and didn’t detain the criminals.
Instead of defending the rights of the aggrieved party, on April 3rd 2018 the building of the temple was again arrested by the ruling of the Rovno city court, then the numerous statements of the community about lifting arrest remained without satisfaction.
Believers consider that the state violated article 8, 9, 11, and 13 of the Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, having allowed groundless interference in the affairs of a religious organisation and actually deprived it of its property rights and the possibility of effective protection. Besides the appeal to the ECHR concerning this case, statements on behalf of the NGO “Public Legal Aid” were sent to the UN Council for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
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