What were the police looking for in Deputy Editor’s flat?
The Kharkiv police on Friday searched the flat of the Deputy Editor of the newspaper “Novy Styl” [“New Style”, Petro Matviyenko. According to Mr Matviyenko, computer technology was removed with the drafts of articles as well as private correspondence. He believes that this is revenge by the police because he is trying to raise public and media attention to the disappearance of his colleague, Vasyl Klymentyev in August this year. The investigators are presently not commenting.
Petro Matviyenko says that he has been addressing high-ranking government officials, international human rights institutions over Klymentyev’s disappearance and that this is worrying the police. He claims that they have decided to deprive him of the possibility of working on material and organized the search on Friday evening. Investigators, led by Valery Lehenevsky, Investigator into Especially Important Cases, arrived at 7 in the evening. The police even took his child’s computer.
The court order gives in the justification section the following: “Due to the fact that Matviyenko is making statements, giving interviews, calling press conferences, going to Kyiv and it is not clear where the money is coming from for all of this, the court allows the search to be carried out”.
Matviyenko asserts that the police acted with purpose, immediately removing any electronic devices for holding information, including his child’s computer. The computer contained not only work material, but also private correspondence and this is a violation of his right to privacy.
According to Aigul Mukhanova, lawyer from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the grounds for the search given are rather strange. She says that she has yet to see the actual document and must go by Mr Matviyenko’s account, but that in accordance with the law, these reasons in a court order cannot be grounds for carrying out a search. She adds that there is an unresolved issue with no procedure in Ukrainian legislation which could protect a journalist from such interference.
The main investigator involved, Valery Lehenevsky refused to give any comment, however over the telephone the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Leonid Zyma promised to provide comment after a commission checking the course of the investigation gets to Kharkiv.