French policemen beat members of Ukrainian choir

12:02, 11 December 2007
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Because they tried to pay for food with 500-euro bonds

French policemen beat four members of “Dumka” National Choir of Ukraine, which were on tour in this country.

According to the information of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine, the incident occurred in Clermont-Ferran city of France on 7 December.

According to the information of the tour organizers, the four choir members went out of their hotel to buy some food in a near-by supermarket. They received 500-euro bonds from the tour organizers. When they tried to pay for food, supermarket employees became anxious when they saw these 500-euro bonds, and called police to probe into the authenticity of the money.

According to the choir chief, unknown people in civil clothes arrived into the supermarket and began to demand from choir members all their money. As the Ukrainian musicians does not know the French language, they could not understand what they were demanded, and offered resistance. As it appeared later, the people in civil clothes were police employees. In their turn, the French policemen used force. The beaten Ukrainian citizens were taken to a nearest police station. After an interrogation, two choir participants were discharged, and two were taken into custody.

The Ukrainian Embassy in France took urgent measures to provide the Ukrainian citizens with proper defense. They turned to the police, to the French Foreign Ministry, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the city. The situation was complicated with the fact that the resolution on taking the Ukrainians into custody was issued on Friday, so, considering that it was late at night, and weekends, their discharge was possible only on Monday, 10 December.

According to the information of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, as the 500-euro bonds authenticity was proved after an inspection, and, considering that the policemen, who arrested the Ukrainians, did not have on them anything that indicated them as policemen, the Embassy turned to French law-enforcement agencies with a demand to take urgent measures to discharge the groundlessly arrested Ukrainians.

The police commissariat representatives apologized for “misunderstanding” and recognized the mistake of the French policemen during the arrest of the Ukrainian singers.

The Ukrainians were discharged from custody, after which they turned to the nearest medical institution to register their beating.

At present the choir collective continues its tour in France.

The case is under the supervision of the Ukrainian Embassy to France and the Consulate Service Department of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

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