The SBU Raided the Apartment of the Ukrainian Human Rights Activist Elena Berezhnaya

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On November 6 the Security Service of Ukraine carried out searches in the apartment of the human rights activist Elena Berezhnaya and the office of the former deputy head of Kiev City State Administration Irena Kilchytskaya. The SBU suspects Berezhnaya, who planned to carry out an event for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Kiev from fascist aggressors on November 6th, of state treason.

On November 6 in Kiev employees of the SBU carried out searches in the apartment of Elena Berezhnaya, who is the director of the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection of Irina Berezhnaya. After she refused to let them enter the apartment, having referred to the absence of her lawyer, security officers broke down the door. Employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, who with the help of special equipment dismantled the apartment’s door, were called to the scene. Then law enforcement bodies started procedural actions in the presence of witnesses, but Berezhnaya fell to the floor and the medics who were on duty at the scene took her to hospital.

According to the human rights activist, when the entrance doors were being opened she was shoved and hit her head on the floor. Also she noted that security officers confiscated a letter from the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection of Irina Berezhnaya, which is led by Elena Berezhnaya, a video camera and phones, and also wrote down the numbers of cash cards.

In addition, investigative actions took place at the office of the lawyer and former deputy of the Kiev City State Administration Irena Kilchytskaya, which Elena Berezhnaya also used in the past. After the search finished Kilchytskaya told journalists that the SBU was looking for documents related to the work of the human rights defender in her room.

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Berezhnaya connects the searches with the event planned on November 6th at the monument to Vatutin devoted to the 75th anniversary of liberation of Kiev from fascist aggressors. She wrote about this on her Facebook page.

The press secretary of the SBU Elena Gitlyanskaya in an official comment declared that the employees of the department carried out a number of searches at the homes of “members of a pro-Russian public organisation within the framework of criminal proceedings under part 1 of Article 109 (‘actions aimed at violently changing or overthrowing the constitutional system or at capturing state power’) and part 1 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (‘state treason’)”.

As a reminder, on May 9th during the “Immortal Regiment” event in Kiev law enforcement officers, having used brute physical force, detained Elena Berezhnaya on suspicion of using a St. George’s Ribbon, which is forbidden in Ukraine [in reality it isn’t – ed], and took her to the Pechersk regional police department. Then she was taken to hospital.

Also earlier the coordinator of theUspishna Varta” human rights platform, together with the well-known Ukrainian lawyer Andrey Domansky, gave recommendations on how to correctly behave and what to do if you are subjected to a search.

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