In his column for life.pravda.com.ua, the Head of the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH, Dmitry Sherembey, responded publicly to accusations of the Law Enforcement Agencies against the Network.
Original here http://life.pravda.com.ua/columns/2017/10/11/226901/
Activists are Terrorists! This is the Opinion of SBU, PGO and the National Police
The largest patients’ organization of Ukraine the Network of PLWH has received so-called “Letters of Happiness” from SBU (Translator’s note: Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrainy – the Security Service of Ukraine), the National Police and the Prosecutor General’s Office. Such letters are not for the first time, but this time the Ukrainian siloviki (TN: security and law enforcement agencies) exceeded our expectations. During one day (!), on September 21, 2017, the courts made eight (!) decisions against the Network of PLWH on the initiative of the National Police and SBU. Do we know at least one case, when the courts made 8 decisions against the corrupt officials at once and so quickly? The answer is obvious.
This indicates a single centre of attack against us.
The person responsible for this raid chose the extremely senseless wording. For example, in the request of SBU, the following is literally mentioned: “… acting deliberately and with the prior conspiracy, with the assistance of the FSB (TN: the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) staff, developed and implemented a scheme to move the grant resources of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Geneva, Switzerland) to occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea for their use with the purpose of financing terrorist organizations of DPR and LPR (TN: Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic), other anti-state pro-Russian and separatist movements, and Internet resources.”
Last month, the Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum recognized the Network of People Living with HIV as the country’s largest charity provider. Last year, we were awarded as the best organization by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Only last year, we provided more than 150 000 clients with assistance.
Ukraine ranks the 131st among countries combating corruption. According to the Transparency International’s estimates on the effectiveness of overcoming corruption, SBU, the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office rank 131st in the world. And now this “cool” people, who are ranked the 131st, try to “raid” people who are ranked the first in their sphere. With all their wiretaps, rifle butts, masks, decisions and approvals, they came to the patients. From the outside it looks like an attack by “siloviki-pedophiles”, because in another way we can hardly compare our weight categories.
For those who do not know: Network of PLWH is already 16 years old. We fought under any power, including Yushchenko and Yanukovych. And we are at war now. They have always tried to close, press, and discredit us, to blame our organization for corruption and biases.
But we are the very agents of change that set the goal to make the country better. It is we who force pharmaceutical companies not to treat Ukraine as a wild market, when a couple of suitcases with money brought to court increases the price of life-saving drugs by 1000%. We go to court and prove that patents are outdated and the price of medicines is overestimated. We used to get our way. We involve innovative technologies in treatment, social services and advocacy in Ukraine. We were partners in the development and launch of the ProZorro and DoZorro platforms, which prevent us from buying carrots at the price of avocados. We create and promote electronic health care system eHealth that will finally allow doctors and patients to become partners.
Patients and doctors appreciate our activities; the American president appreciates our work too. International and Ukrainian experts also value highly our achievements. The international auditors, who closely monitor each contract, do not have any questions to us. We are open, transparent and responsible for every step and hryvnia.
At the same time, SBU, the National Police and the Prosecutor General’s Office made up a story that we support anti-state policy, cooperate with the FSB, blow up depots, kidnaps, finance terrorism with the help of money from Geneva, eat babes. At a time, when the country is in real danger, the siloviki prefer, as in the old joke, to seek the lost keys under a streetlight but not where they were really lost. They prefer to fight not real terrorists and saboteurs, but non-governmental organizations which are closer, much safer and do not hide anywhere.
That is why, we give an answer to the siloviki through the media because the methods that they chose resemble the methods of the KGB, when all actions were carried out in secrecy, and in the interests of one small group of people. It seems that they are trying to “curb” the Network of PLWH as in the times, when the KGB ruled the world. These people try to intimidate our partners, discredit us in the donor face. They still live in 1984 under Andropov. These people do not believe that times have changed. They do not believe that you can live honestly, act in the interests of people, and you can sincerely wish to change the country for the better. They do not believe, because nothing is more important for them than personal enrichment.
They do not sleep at night and try to hurt us to remain everything as it was before: quiet, cloudy, and with under-the-counter money. But we are not afraid of any raids, examinations and threats. We believe that this country, thanks to us also, have changed, and the changes are irreversible.
And this is our answer to SBU, the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office:
P.S. While the column was been written it became known that the Pechersk Court decided to conduct an unscheduled tax audit of the Network of PLWH by the State Fiscal Service.