03:35 GMT +321 August 2019
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    'Flagrant Violation of Freedom': Ukraine Bans Communist Party

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    The Communist Party of Ukraine has been banned from operating and participating in elections following a court's decision to uphold a government lawsuit that accused the party of promoting separatism and inter-ethnic conflict.

    On Wednesday, the Kiev District Administrative Court ruled for the plaintiff – the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice – that had filed a lawsuit in 2014 requesting a ban on all activities of the Communist party in Ukraine.

    In May, Ukraine adopted controversial "de-communization" laws which outlawed the display of Soviet symbols and prohibited the use of the term "communist." The Communist Party of Ukraine refused to change its name, logo or its charter to comply with the legislation.

    Human rights campaigners criticized the court's decision, calling it "a flagrant violation of freedom of expression and association."

    John Dalhuisen of Amnesty International said the court ban set a dangerous precedent.

    "The decision may be seen as dealing with the damaging vestiges of the Soviet past. In fact, it does exactly the opposite by following the same style of draconian measures used to stifle dissent," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

    "Expressing your opinion without fear of prosecution, particularly if that opinion is contrary to the views held by those in position of power, was one of the principles behind the EuroMaidan protests. Snuffing out the Communist party flies in the face of these ideals."

    The Communist party has spoken out against Kiev's military campaign against separatists in eastern Ukraine, calling it a war against its own people. 

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