On 15 October, police in Vinnytsya, in the south west of the country, searched the house and office of Dmytro Groysman, the chair of Vinnytsya Human Rights Group, which supports asylum-seekers, and campaigns against torture and ill-treatment. Police questioned staff about their work, and confiscated over 300 items, including UNHCR files, computer discs, memory sticks and a laptop, effectively paralysing the work of the NGO.
The search was conducted under the pretext of an anti-pornography investigation into a link on Groysman’s personal blog to a video of Russian politicians engaging in sexual acts that had already been widely circulated within the public domain, via YouTube, Russian television and Ukraine news sites. The fact that Dmytro Groysman appears to be the only person under investigation in connection with the video, raises suspicions that the real purpose of the search was to obstruct the activities of the Vinnytsya Human Rights Group, and to investigate their work on human rights. The search was carried out in violation of Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code.