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Ukraine: Infighting Threatens Anti-Corruption and Prosecutorial Reforms
Following reports that agents of Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NACB) were illegally detained and abused by prosecutors from the Department for Investigating Serious Economic Crimes, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Evidence including video testimony released by the NACB detailing allegations of serious abuse by prosecutors raises grave concerns about the progress of anti-corruption and prosecutorial reforms in Ukraine,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “Proponents of reform are being opposed by representatives of the old system seeking to maintain their power and privileges. President Poroshenko and Prosecutor General Lutsenko should oversee an immediate, effective investigation of these allegations of abuse by government officials and renew their commitment to rooting out officials who seek a return to the old system.”
The NACB on Aug. 15 released video footage of interrogations in which the bureau employees say they were illegally detained, beaten, and even tortured by prosecutors on August 12. The NACB – more independent and reform-oriented than many other parts of the judicial system – has been involved in a bitter dispute with the prosecution service, a largely discredited, presidentially-controlled agency that has proved ineffective in combating corruption.
Ukraine is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Partly Free inFreedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 4.68 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.