Chilling Echoes: Lutsenko, Verbytsky, Portnikov
Well-known journalist and civic activist Ihor Lutsenko is alive, but badly injured after being abducted from hospital, taken to a forest outside Kyiv and beaten up. LB.ua cites lawyer Yevhenia Zakrevska as saying that Lutsenko is in the “Borys” Clinic and is undergoing examination. There are grounds for fearing that internal organs have been damaged. He also has an eye injury, has multiple bruises and has had three teeth knocked out.
Even more worryingly, activist Yury Verbytsky who was reported abducted at the same time, is still missing.
Lutsenko says that such abductions and beatings are standard. People are taken out of town, he asserts, questioned, badly beaten and then taken to a police station. Lutsenko assumes that he was taken to the forest but then released because of the publicity following his abduction.
He says that Verbytsky was beaten even more savagely and believes he is probably now in some police station.
On Tuesday evening, another prominent journalist Vitaly Portnikov informed Ukrainska Pravda that he had left Ukraine. He said that he had received information from his Russian sources that there were plans to make him “a new Georgy Gongadze. Three athletic thugs had tried to burst into his home on Tuesday evening, he continued. He had been warned of danger immediately after his meeting with EU ambassadors where he and members of the opposition described problems in the country, including attacks on journalists. From then on, he asserts, a campaign was launched aimed at discrediting him.
Critical investigative journalist and founder of Ukrainska Pravda, Georgy Gongadze was abducted on September 16 2000. His beheaded body was later found in a forest outside Kyiv.