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26.10.2007

Media Trade Union calls for action over beating of Ternopil journalist

   

The Ukrainian Independent Media Trade Union is demanding that those responsible for beating up the head of the Media Union in Ternopil, correspondent for the newspaper “Tochka OPORY”, Ihor Stsibailo, be prosecuted. He was attacked during the early hours of 20 October near the Ternopil Youth Centre “Las Vegas” by two men in civilian clothes, one of whom produced a pass identifying him as a criminal investigation officer Oleh Mohyla. The journalist was then taken to Ternopil Police Station No 2.

The police officers took away all the journalist’s possessions and, without writing up a protocol, placed him in a cell. The possessions, according to the journalist, including two mobile telephones, an MP3 player, a wallet with bank cards and 451 UAH, as well as passes for the National Union of Ukrainian Journalists and the Media Trade Union.

In the morning when Ihor demanded to be released, he says that Captain Kravchuk opened the door to the cell and said that he had been detained for forging documents. When Ihor began protesting, Kravchuk hit in the chest and told him to sit quietly or he’d get more of the same.

Around 11.30 the police released him, but did not return one mobile phone or 300 UAH.  When asked for the remaining items, they denied their existence and asked Ihor to sign that his possessions had been returned. When he refused, he was taken to No. 1 police station where he was released by the head of the station. He has since made a statement to both the City and regional prosecutor’s offices demanding that action be taken over the grave infringement of his rights by police officers.

At present Ihor is in the neurological unit of the Ternopil Regional Hospital with a preliminary diagnosis of concussion.

A press conference is to be held at the Ternopil Press Club on Friday over the incident.

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