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12.02.2009

Prosecutor’s Office sitting on investigation into beating of journalists

   

On 11 February the Head of the Kyiv Branch of the Independent Media Union of Ukraine, Yury Lukanov, sent a letter of complaint to the Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko. It criticizes the inaction of the, Prosecutor’s Office for the Pechersky District in Kyiv over the incident on 2 October 2008 when three journalists who were carrying out their professional duties near the Sound-Recording Building on Pervomaiska Street were assaulted during a protest against what the protesters believe is illegal construction.

During the protest on 2 October journalist - photographers Oleksandr Techynsky and Volodymyr Hontar were beaten up. Oleksandr received a broken arm.  Journalist Ihor Lutsenko had his video camera taken away and returned damaged. The journalists allege that during the event a group of police officer stood silently watching.

According to lawyer Andriy Nechyporenko, who prepared the complaint, after the incident the police initiated two criminal investigations, on charges of hooliganism and causing medium severity bodily injuries. In addition, on 13 October the Media Union addressed an appeal to the Prosecutor General asking that a criminal investigation also be launched over obstruction of journalists whilst carrying out their duties, and over the inaction of police officers. Mr Nechyporenko says that the law enforcement bodies sent the material of the case, including video footage, for checking to the prosecutor’s office. The latter, however, has yet to provide any information or legal assessment regarding the inaction of the police and obstruction of journalists in their work.

In his letter Yury Lukanov draws attention to the inaction of the prosecutor’s office and asks the Prosecutor General to take the case under his personal control.

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