Ten citizens of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have reportedly been denied their fundamental human right to access the justice system in the Seredyno-Budskuy district court of the Sumy region in the north of Ukraine.
On December 5, 2012, the Sumy regional prosecutor’s office confirmed that during a four-month period in 2011, ten foreign nationals were brought to trial in the Seredyno-Budskuy district court for different immigration offences. All ten trials were in violation of the right to be heard and the right to a public hearing since they all were carried out in the absence of the defendants or their counsels. The guilty verdicts contained false pleas considering none of the defendants were actually present in court to plea guilty.
Amid growing public concern over the grievous human rights violations, the Sumy regional prosecutor’s office has launched an official investigation into the alleged abuse of power by the three judges who presided over the cases. Surprisingly, no criminal charges, as of yet, have been brought against any of them.
On the same day, Legal Support of Foreigners in Ukraine contacted the Sumy regional prosecutor’s office with an official information inquiry regarding the current status of the investigation.
The Organization will continue monitoring the progress of the investigation and is ready to officially act on behalf of the foreign citizens who became victims of these alleged criminal wrongdoings.