A Star of David burns in flames during a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza in front of the Israeli embassy in Ankara.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The sister of a recently arrested Ukrainian Jewish politician threatened to set herself on fire during a confrontation with consular officials at the Ukrainian embassy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, during which she demanded information regarding her sibling’s condition.
Hennadiy Korban, who served under Jewish oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky as deputy governor of the Dnepropetrovsk region until earlier this year and currently heads the new Ukrainian Association of Patriots political party (UKROP), was detained during a massive raid by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
The raid also targeted the Kolomoisky-linked Fund for the Defense of the Country and the office of Kolomoisky confidant and legislator Boris Filatov.
Korban’s lawyers have termed the arrest a kidnapping and stated that they had minimal information regarding how it came about.
According to The Kyiv Post, Korban, who is also a member of the board of trustees of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community, stands accused of several politically motivated kidnappings during his time in the Dnepropetrovsk regional administration, as well as of embezzling millions of hryvnia from the Fund for the Defense of the Country.
Korban’s sister Victoria arrived at the embassy on Wednesday, demanding information on his location and the conditions of his incarceration.
“I explained that my brother was kidnapped there because nobody knows what is with him – we are fearful for his health,” she told The Jerusalem Post.
“They didn’t want to deal with me,” she recalled, adding that she threw herself to the floor in the building’s entrance, after which Ukrainian officials here called the police.
After the police arrived, she was allowed in and told that she could write a letter to senior Ukrainian officials that would be passed on by the embassy. However, when the consul did not show up, she said that her husband would bring gasoline and that she would self-immolate right then and there.
“It’s like the gestapo that we see on television,” she said, comparing the security services involved in her brother’s arrest to bandits.
“Everybody is silent – how can this be in the year 2015 that everybody is silent,” she asked, weeping.
In a separate interview with Forbes Ukraine, she stated that government agents overturned her mother’s bed during a search of their house over the weekend and “ransacked all [of her] medications.”
Korban said that she planned on holding a protest outside of the embassy on Friday morning.
The Ukrainian embassy did not respond to a request for comment.
Jewish sources in Ukraine told the Post
that there is likely no link between Korban’s Jewish identity and his arrest.
“I think his conviction is pure criminal, but in this unstable situation we should be very careful that the law enforcement would not be used as a tool against political enemies,” Eduard Dolinsky of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee said earlier this week.