Chewbacca in court over lack of ID while driving Darth Vader to Ukraine election

Star Wars character appears before court in Odessa after man inside costume failed to provide identity documents

The Star Wars character Chewbacca has been dragged before a court in Odessa, in perhaps the most surreal episode in local elections across Ukraine that have been both hotly contested and rife with dirty tricks. The man inside Chewbacca in court over lack of ID while driving Darth Vader to Ukraine electionbeing able to produce identification documents.

A statement posted on the official Instagram account of the Ukrainian police read: “Nothing unusual here, just Chewbacca detained for being without documents while driving Darth Vader to the elections in Odessa. The Sith Lord Darth_Vader_SWE_detailhas already claimed this was illegal as Chewbacca is his pet and general servant and thus does not require documents.”

Police had earlier dragged “Chewbacca” from a polling station and put him in a van after accusing him of disrupting proceedings. The person in the costume said he had been there to support Darth Vader, who was attempting to vote.

Darth Vaders have been frequent candidates at Ukrainian elections, with a reported 16 of them taking part in last year’s parliamentary vote. The Vaders, many of whom have changed their names legally, usually campaign in full costume. A statue of Vladimir Lenin was given a makeover and unveiled in a new guise as Darth Vader last week, in response to a Ukrainian law banning symbols of the Communist past.

Chewbacca’s arrest was not the only controversy on election day. More significantly, the vote was cancelled in the city of Mariupol, close to the front line between pro-Ukraine forces and Russia-backed separatists. The official reason was due to spoiled ballot papers, and there are plans to reschedule the vote in a fortnight.

In other major cities, including Kiev, there will be a second round of voting for the mayor, after no candidate received more than 50% in the first round. Kiev’s incumbent mayor, the former heavyweight boxer Vitaly Klitschko, is expected to win comfortably in the second round.

The elections were marked by traditional dirty tactics such as voter-buying, spoiler candidates and backroom deals, leading many observers to claim that the new Ukrainian government has not yet managed to introduce the “new kind of politics” promised after the Maidan revolution last year.