We always try to hope for the rule of law and justice in courts, but, unfortunately, this does not always happen. When our beneficiary reached the Entry-Exit Checkpoint all his money was confiscated. Two court instances, numerous petitions and almost six months of court battles – and all of this to help people return their funds for cancer treatment…
Our beneficiary is a man, a citizen of Ukraine. He lives with his wife and 4 children in Khartsyzsk, which is in the temporarily occupied territory. Man was shocked to learn that his wife was diagnosed with cancer. At first she was operated in Donetsk and then she went for further treatment to Azerbaijan. After discharge from the hospital, the woman was advised to undergo therapeutic radiological treatment in the city of Dnipro as there were no conditions or equipment for further treatment in the temporarily occupied territories.
Due to the impossibility of free crossing of the contact line due to quarantine restrictions, a written invitation was issued by a specialized hospital in Dnipro. In addition, it was stated that the woman would be accompanied by her husband and her brother, as she could not travel on her own. Therefore, permission to cross the contact line was obtained, the money was collected and so it was high time to move for the treatment to Dnipro, Ukraine.
“Stop right there! Cancer will wait…”
On the 10th of August 2020, a family of three left Khartsyzsk and moved in the direction of Novotroitske Entry-Exit Checkpoint to get to the Government Controlled Area. They had the entire amount of money for treatment in the car. The total did not exceed the allowed limit for 3 people.
Since they were traveling together, the money were in the bag of the husband (our beneficiary – ed. note). But then when they arrived at the EECP their car, documents and bags were inspected. Our beneficiary showed the entire amount of money and documents from the hospital, which confirmed the purpose of the trip. But that didn’t help: an employee of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine drew up a report on an administrative offense for the “illegal transfer of funds in excess of the established limit”. Employee of the SFSU refused an explanation that the amount was for all three people in the car, that the family is going to the Dnipro for complex treatment.
In result, all the money was confiscated. According to the family, they were left with only 250 UAH. They had to urgently borrow money from their acquaintances and then go to Dnipro. Thanks to caring people and friends, they managed to raise the required sum of money.
Monitors of the Right to Protection CF witnessed the family’s story at the EECP and advised them to apply to the organization’s office to protect their rights.
Woman and her brother soon visited the office of the Right to Protection CF in Dnipro. They told about the incident in all details and provided the medical documents. Our colleagues have made numerous legal inquiries and collected all the documents necessary to protect their interests in court.
«During the review of the case materials, an important fact was revealed. The control coupon issued at the EECP entrance was corrected. The number “3”, which indicated the number of people in the car, was corrected to “1”. Someone deliberately tried to change the fact to make it look as if our beneficiary was trying to enter the Checkpoint on his own. The report on the administrative offense also stated that the client was moving from the temporarily occupied territory in a car alone,»– explained Vyacheslav Stasiuk, lawyer at the Dnipro office of the Right to Protection CF.
Our lawyer then prepared a written request to close the case due to the lack of corpus delicti, because the client crossed the contact line while being accompanied by his wife and her brother, money was shared among all of them and the amount did not exceed the limit for 3 people.
However, the city court found our beneficiary guilty of violating the provisions of Part 1 of Article 204-3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, imposed a fine and confiscated the family’s confiscated funds.
After reviewing the text of the decision, the lawyer prepared an appeal and stressed that there was clear evidence of the client’s innocence. On January 18, 2021, a regular session of the Court of Appeal of the Donetsk region in the city of Mariupol took place.
Two monitors of the Right to Protection were invited to testify in court, as they have communicated directly with all three family members during their crossing on August 10, 2020.
The fact that there were three people in the car, and not one, as stated in the coupon was proved and taken into account by the judge.
«We went through two court instances, the first one, where a negative decision was made, and the second one – our appeal, which corrected the judicial error of the court of first instance. The decision of the court of first instance was canceled and the proceedings were closed due to the absence of an administrative offense in the client’s actions,»– commented Serhiy Halemsky, a lawyer at the Mariupol office of the Right to Protection CF.
The Court of Appeal found that the client had been unjustifiably fined and ordered to return all the confiscated money.