The demonstration of power: revenge and weakness
It's not always that you will feel the protection of the government when your rights are violated, but it's always that you will feel the demonstration of power by the government once you start criticizing the latter. This is what happened to volunteer Roman Sinitsyn (real last name is Balan).
Roman on his Facebook page stated he was ready to pay US $500 for any information about the law enforcement officer, who had caused injuries to activists in a clash near the Podil Police Department.
According to press release, "having analyzed mass media and social network posts on the collection of information about Podil Police Department officers, as well as special unit officers, investigators initiated criminal proceedings for the violation of p. 1 Art. 14 (preparation to conduct a crime), Art. 348 (attempt on the life of a law enforcement officer) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Let's analyze actions of the police after Roman Sinitsyn's post.
What exactly Roman Sinitsyn asked to provide and why.
Roman asks to provide information on individuals, police officers who assaulted activists. He asked their first names, last names, patronymics, their positions, home addresses and the same data regarding their families (I understand the word "family" in such a way). Also, in his post he stressed that he did not collect personal data and wanted to congratulate wives of the law enforcement officers [on the Women's Day].
Investigators opened the criminal proceeding classified under Part 1 Article 14 (Preparation for a crime), Article 348 (Infringement on life of a law enforcement officer) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
They saw in Roman's post information on collecting personal data of law enforcement officers, their home addresses, as well as regarding members of their families, and hints of physical assault on them.
Is it so?
First of all, as for the personal information.
According to the Law of Ukraine "On Protection of Personal Data", such action as "collecting personal data" has its own term "processing of personal data."
According to Article 5 of this Law, personal data regarding the person's performance of functions of the state or local self-government bodies, or official authority, is not confidential information.
There is also Part 6 Article 6 of this Law, which states that it is not allowed to process data regarding the individual, that is confidential information, without his consent, except cases foreseen by the Law, and only in interests of national security, economic welfare, and human rights.
Approximately the same is envisaged by p. 3 Art. 14 of the Law on personal data and decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine dated 20 January 2012 ¹2-ðï/2012, providing official interpretation of p. 1,2 Art. 32 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
Roman wrote in his post about people who performed functions of the state. In the view of actions of such law enforcement officers, which Roman described, they were a threat to human life.
That means that some part of the information requested in society is not really confidential, and the other part of the information may be requested, since it concerns protection of vital interests of the person and the citizen, namely national security.
The mechanism for ensuring protection of personal data is described in Article 24 of the Law "On Protection of Personal Data", which states that the structural unit or the responsible person that organizes work related to protection of personal data during processing is created (determined) by state authorities.
Information about the structural unit or the responsible person is reported to the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, which ensures its promulgation.
Is there such structural unit or responsible person in the national police? Was there any interaction with the Ombudsman regarding personal data requested by Roman in the social network?
I have doubts.
And to put an end to the question regarding personal data, I would like to remind that: there is such a thing as General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR; Regulation (EU) 2016/679. This is regulation within framework of the EU legislation on protection of personal data of all people within the EU and the European Economic Area.
According to Paragraph (d) Part 1 Article 6 of this Regulation, the processing is legal if it is necessary in order to protect vital interests of data of a subject or another individual.
The infliction of bodily injuries on activists by law enforcement officers, in my opinion, is precisely the protection of individuals' interests.
Besides, it is worth noticing, that the police officers, who on January 9 took part in the incident of the inhuman treatment, particularly, beating up the activists next to Podil Police Department made extreme efforts to thoroughly hide their numbers on the helmets. With such actions they provoked the society to collect information that was supposed to be open.
That’s some kind of a social argument. If a police representative hides information, that is supposed to be open, from a citizen, the latter asks his fellow citizens for help to find it.
Secondly, as for the qualification of Roman's actions classified under Part 1 Article 14 (Preparation for a crime) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
It states that preparation for a crime is search or adjustment of tools or means, search for accomplices or a conspiracy regarding committing the crime, elimination of obstacles, as well as other deliberate creation of conditions for committing the crime.
- According to Article 11 of the Criminal Code, the crime is socially dangerous action (action or inaction) committed by the subject of the crime.
- Which Article of the Criminal Code foresees such crime as greeting on the Women's Day? Maybe this has something to do with the decommunization process?
- What tools did he search for? Or what kind of tools and means Roman applied in his post?
Tools and means are objects of the material world which by their objective properties can be used for committing the crime, regardless the fact whether they had such properties from the very beginning or they were adjusted by the guilty person. These items could only have the purpose of committing the crime.
Did Roman search for such tools? The answer is no. Therefore, I consider further analysis of the crime is simply inappropriate.
Thirdly, as for the qualification of Roman's actions classified under Article 345 (Infringement on life of a law enforcement officer) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
If we can agree with the subject of the crime classified under this article, but the objective side looks more like a fantasy written by Joan Rowling. The post did not state either the threats (Part 1 Article 345 of the Criminal Code) or assaults (Part 2 Article 345 of the Criminal Code).
According to scientific and practical comment, the mandatory feature of the threat of this crime is that it is committed in connection with performance of duties by the law enforcement officer.
If the investigator believes that beating on the head of the lying activist is the duty of the law enforcement body, then why does he have questions about the right to know a little bit more about this police officer?
To sum up, I will say that the purpose of this case is not to protect someone's rights. As well as actions of the police on that day were not intended to prevent seizure of public buildings or structures.
The only purpose of this case is to demonstrate that the police will be still used against citizens if the latter do not agree with the violation of the social contract by the state.
This is the cry of the institute of power, which states about powerlessness to the justice that society demands thanks to such people as Roman.
Masi Nayyem, for UP