5-year-old criminal investigation reopened against a PORA journalist


Uzhhorod investigators have interrogated the Chief Editor of the newspaper “Local Time”, Viktor Shchadey and his parents. According to the Western Information Cooperation, Mr Shchadey told them that the law enforcement officers had said that they were working “within the framework of a criminal investigation from 2004” which, it transpires, was not then terminated.

This was a criminal investigation initiated by the Transcarpathian police back in October 2004 when Viktor Shchadey was the head of the Transcarpathian branch of the civic campaign PORA. He was arrested on the eve of the first round of voting and during a search officers of UBOZ [the Department for Fighting Organized Crime] found explosives, which Mr Shchadey asserts were planted by Security Service [SBU] officers. Viktor Shchadey ended up in a SIZO [remand unit] and PORA declared that the explosives had been planted in order to discredit PORA activists on the eve of the elections. There were similar arrests in other regions of the country.

The then Governor of the region, Ivan Rizak, held a joint press conference with heads of the regional police, prosecutor’s office and SBU where he reported Shchadey’s arrest. Information was circulated via media outlets under the control of the regime claiming that terrorist acts were being planned in Uzzhorod, and that Shchadey had links with the CIA and the Georgian Security Service.

After the elections the investigation was not mentioned. Viktor Shchadey was elected to the Regional Council, and later became the Editor of the regional newspaper “Local Time” known for its critical attitude to the Party of the Regions and Viktor Yanukovych.

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